Clean coal ‘has our support’ insists Minister

Minister Michael Fallon
Minister Michael Fallon
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A Minister has promised the Coalition is committed to backing clean coal technology despite criticism that the fledgling industry which could deliver thousands of jobs for the region has been hampered by Government delays.

Michael Fallon announced £2.5 million for carbon capture and storage (CCS) research as he visited testing facilities in Sheffield yesterday.

The Government was recently criticised by the Energy and Climate Change Committee of MPs which called for an end to a “decade of delay” on CCS technology.

The companies behind a pioneering CCS project, centred on Drax power station near Selby, is hoping the European Union will announce millions of pounds in funding in the coming weeks. It received some Government support last year but has yet to be given its full backing.

Mr Fallon, the Energy Minister, said: “We are committed to this technology. We are putting £1 billion worth of taxpayers’ money behind it with two huge projects going on in Yorkshire at Drax and another at Peterhead in Aberdeen.

“Alongside that there is this research which will tell us whether we can scale up this technology to give us cleaner power and to control emissions at our existing power stations and the power stations of the future.

“That will help us adapt to climate change but also to keep a lid on consumer bills.”

The Government’s critics have argued the EU funding for clean coal technology in Yorkshire could have been secured earlier if Ministers had been more decisive.

There was also disappointment in Yorkshire when the Government did not support plans for a clean coal power station in Hatfield.

The Energy Minister said the Government could not back every project and it needed to see which technology would work.

He added: “Yorkshire is leading the way because it is a centre of power generation but also because it is a crucible of technology. It is the research being done here that is most likely to give us cheaper cleaner energy in the future.”

Mr Fallon was speaking after visiting CCS research facilities in Beighton which are hosted by Sheffield University as part of a collaboration with six other universities including Leeds.

Yorkshire MEP Linda McAvan said: “The Coalition government turned down EU funding for CCS back in 2012, denying Yorkshire up to 4,200 jobs.

“So whilst I am relieved that the Government is starting to wake up to the huge potential for jobs and economic growth that CCS presents, it needs to commit to the White Rose project at Drax and take advantage of the EU funding that is on offer, without any further delay​.”