European Parliament Hearing on CCS

On 23 March 2016, on the initiative of the Zero Emissions Platform (ZEP), a hearing took place in the European Parliament on carbon capture and storage (CCS) and its role in the transition towards sustainable European industries. The hearing was hosted by Lambert van Nistelrooij MEP (CDA). Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, was invited to speak about Rotterdam’s ambitions with regard to CO₂ reduction and the role of CCS in the economic renewal of the port’s industrial complex.

During the hearing, Lambert Van Nistelrooij called upon the European Commission to come up with a main policy document in order to put CCS back on the European agenda. He argued that the Commission should follow the example of North America and Canada, where the legal framework ensures innovation and investments in low-carbon technologies such as CCS. According to Van Nistelrooij, CCS has disappeared from the European Parliament’s radar, but the Paris Climate Agreement has created renewed momentum for CCS. To keep temperature increases within 2°C, approximately 6 billion tonnes of CO₂ needs to be stored every year. Half of these emissions comes from energy-intensive sectors where there is no real alternative for reducing CO₂ emissions. In those sectors, CCS provides an alternative to reduce CO₂ emissions and deliver on the Paris Climate Goals.

The Wuppertal Institute has, assigned by the Port Authority, worked out four transition paths by which the industrial complex of Rotterdam can dramatically reduce its CO₂ emissions (20% of all CO₂ emissions in the Netherlands). In two of the four scenarios, CCS is indispensable for reducing emissions from energy-intensive industries. The Port authority is already working on a number of sustainability projects in the industrial complex in Rotterdam, such as the development of a regional heat network and a CO₂ infrastructure for the transport and storage of CO₂ of industries in the port area.

The Port Authority wants to play a proactive role in the energy transition by creating the necessary infrastructure for heat and the capture, storage and reuse of CO₂. Businesses in the port that wish to connect to this infrastructure will pay for the transport. According to CEO Castelein, it is important to use multiple ‘coalitions of the willing’ to get businesses on the path towards sustainability. Lambert van Nistelrooij stated that the problem for CCS lies with ownership. It is often unclear what level (national, regional, European) is responsible for the necessary investments. The solution, he said, lies in a territorial (cluster) approach. Rotterdam can serve as a model for the rest of Europe in this respect.

During the hearing, Lambert Van Nistelrooij called upon the European Commission to come up with a main policy document in order to put CCS back on the European agenda. He argued that the Commission should follow the example of North America and Canada, where the legal framework ensures innovation and investments in low-carbon technologies such as CCS. According to Van Nistelrooij, CCS has disappeared from the European Parliament’s radar, but the Paris Climate Agreement has created renewed momentum for CCS. To keep temperature increases within 2°C, approximately 6 billion tonnes of CO₂ needs to be stored every year. Half of these emissions comes from energy-intensive sectors where there is no real alternative for reducing CO₂ emissions. In those sectors, CCS provides an alternative to reduce CO₂ emissions and deliver on the Paris Climate Goals.

The Wuppertal Institute has, assigned by the Port Authority, worked out four transition paths by which the industrial complex of Rotterdam can dramatically reduce its CO₂ emissions (20% of all CO₂ emissions in the Netherlands). In two of the four scenarios, CCS is indispensable for reducing emissions from energy-intensive industries. The Port authority is already working on a number of sustainability projects in the industrial complex in Rotterdam, such as the development of a regional heat network and a CO₂ infrastructure for the transport and storage of CO₂ of industries in the port area.

The Port Authority wants to play a proactive role in the energy transition by creating the necessary infrastructure for heat and the capture, storage and reuse of CO₂. Businesses in the port that wish to connect to this infrastructure will pay for the transport. According to CEO Castelein, it is important to use multiple ‘coalitions of the willing’ to get businesses on the path towards sustainability. Lambert van Nistelrooij stated that the problem for CCS lies with ownership. It is often unclear what level (national, regional, European) is responsible for the necessary investments. The solution, he said, lies in a territorial (cluster) approach. Rotterdam can serve as a model for the rest of Europe in this respect.

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