Three messages to take away from the NER300 press conference given by Commissioner Hedegaard today:
- Second call to be launched “as early in the New Year as possible”. Hedegaard added: “The intention is that within a 12-month time span we will be able to award the second call.”
- Second call not to look radically different from the first call. Hedegaard: “We won’t change the funding criteria. It is the second call after the first call. No surprises there.”
- EC very keen to fund CCS in the second call but refuses to set aside money from withdrawn ULCOS CCS project specifically for CCS in the second call.
EC documentation is available on this DG CLIMA webpage.
The European Commission, represented by the Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard, will make a statement at a press conference beginning at 12:30 CET. A web-stream can be accessed here. Soon after, the official version of the Award Decision will be available on the EC’s NER300 webpage.
One CCS project is mentioned in the Decision but only because it announced its withdrawal after the Award Decision had gone on interservice consultation in the EC and after it had been sent to Member States. It will not be funded in the first call.
The text of the CCC’s opinion is as outlined in this document.
Further analysis to follow.
Disregarding a plea from the CCS Association to delay the announcement of first call NER300 winners, by “just a few months“, the EC will invite Member States to vote on its proposal for a portfolio of projects to fund on 13 December. The agenda for the Climate Change Committee’s meeting was published on the EC’s website late yesterday:
UK CCS projects will not be among them. On 29 November, the UK’s most senior energy minister, Ed Davey, told his Parliament: “It is true that we did not get in the first round of the New Entrants Reserve 300 funding from the EU.” He added, “But we are wholly able to get into the second round and get the same amount of money. I have spoken to the European Commissioner about that. I see no problem in ensuring that we use the money put aside to get the best value for money for the best CCS projects.”
Not everyone is as sanguine as Mr Davey about the prospects of funding UK CCS in the second call. MEP Chris Davies told Bloomberg on 30 November that the funds available would be “tiny” by comparison to those in the first call.
The CCS Association claimed that delaying the vote would allow Member States to provide sufficient assurances to the EC that they would cofund NER300 projects.
In a further blow to CCS, the Industry, Research and Energy committee of the European Parliament voted on 28 November to broaden significantly the scope of fossil energy research under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, while constraining the budget available to at most 10% of the total for non-nuclear energy technology. This amount would originally have gone solely to CCS. Mr Davies co-signed amendments that led to the inclusion of conventional power generation and ‘carbon capture and usage’ (quite distinct from CCS).