By Paul Homewood
Jillian Ambrose is away with the fairies again!
The stench of tons of compressed waste is something you get used to. High above the warehouse floor, tightly packed bales of British rubbish are stacked and waiting to be burned, across the North Sea from the homes in Bristol and Birmingham that produced them.
In a modern plant wedged between pine and granite on the edge of Oslo, Nordic power company Fortum is using British rubbish to generate electricity and warmth for a nearby district-heating project. This energy- from-waste plant alone incinerates 45 tons of rubbish at 850 degrees Celsius every hour.
“It’s the smell of money,” laughs Pal Mikkelsen, the plant’s director.
For years Norway has charged British cities to take their waste while creating a valuable source of heat and energy on the side. Now it has plans to create a third source of income from UK rubbish.
Mikkelsen is eager to explain how the work being done at his plant could play a role in helping his country take Britain’s carbon emissions too.
The Fortum plant is vying with other high-carbon industrial players to be part of a radical national programme to turn carbon capture into a new pan-European industry, with Norway in the driving seat.
Norway’s plans are audacious. Its government believes that within the next five years it will be able to develop a system to rid the whole of Europe of its unwanted carbon emissions.
Under the scheme, CO2 from factories all across Europe could soon be piped on to ships and brought to Norway. Cutting-edge carbon storage sites will then inject the gas deep into salt caverns under the seabed.
The individual elements of this chain are technically proven but carbon capture and storage (CCS) has so far failed to gain traction across Europe. Investors have balked at the eye-wateringly high costs and daunting risks. Governments, too, have quickly lost their nerve.
It is almost two years since the UK Government abruptly pulled the plug on £1bn worth of funding for two major CCS power plant projects backed by some of the biggest energy companies in Europe, for instance.
Norway believes that by pushing ahead with its own CCS plans the technology may find its way back on to the agenda. This could provide a new industrial avenue for the country in a similar way that Britain’s rubbish helped create an energy-from-waste industry.
The Norwegian “CCS Highway” has a better chance of success in large part by circumventing the need to court nervous investors. It benefits from direct government funding.
The industrial partners taking part in the first phase of the scheme will be responsible for upgrading their plants to trap CO2. The state will take on the considerable risk involved in creating a transport and storage network, however.
This will include gas-carrying ships, subsea pipelines and a storage facility some 40 miles off the coast of Norway, in saline caverns beneath the seabed. The set-up bill is estimated at €1.4bn (£1.2bn) and the system is expected to cost €100m a year to operate.
The Norwegians are of course hoping that the EU, including the UK is potty enough to pay a fortune to bury their CO2 in this way. But does anybody really expect the likes of China, India and all of the other upcoming economies to follow suit?
The end result will be inevitable – the European industrial economy will continue to disappear down the drain pipe.
This excellent comment from Jonathan Spencer sums the whole thing up:
jonathan spencer 20 Aug 2017 10:29PM
“Under the scheme, CO2 from factories all across Europe could soon be piped on to ships and brought to Norway. Cutting-edge carbon storage sites will then inject the gas deep into salt caverns under the seabed.”…”Its government believes that within the next five years it will be able to develop a system to rid the whole of Europe of its unwanted carbon emissions.”
This scheme is about as stupid as it gets, ranking right up there with the vacuous Miliband’s plan for a Personal Carbon Credit scheme.
So European politicians are prepared to waste what will have to be billions of euros in a whole new infrastructure to collect CO2, process it, ship and store it underground. Quite apart form the phenomenal physical resources required to carry out this European wide process, it is difficult to see how this extremely complex set of transactions will reduce overall carbon emissions and the initial cost of emissions in the infrastructure will consume many years of carbon captured, probably never achieving payback. This is just another gigantic con trick perpetrated on the plebs in the very long list of gigantic cons in the global CO2 scam.
Of all the investments in infrastructure we desperately need in the UK, CCS is way, way down the list in utility, payback and need. Far more important, for example, is the need to improve significantly the UK’s security of energy supply and energy efficiency which is pathetic in this country, especially in the public sector itself. Successive governments and the completely and utterly useless senior civil servants in the energy departments need a complete change of mindset and should start dealing with real world practical problems instead of throwing huge sums of money at problems which do not exist.
Outrage was quite rightly expressed at the many failings of government at all levels in respect of the Grenfell Tower disaster but there is a much greater disaster that occurs every winter and that is the avoidable deaths of many thousands of people from hypothermia, primarily due to a complete lack of a viable energy policy in this country and that has been the case for at least twenty years. What can you do with a government that would rather spend a colossal sum of money each year chasing a nonsensical carbon emissions reduction target, rather than ensuring that many of its citizens do not die because of the high price of energy, which is a direct result of that government’s policy?
The French have been very vocal about punishing the UK for Brexit. Well, let’s hope they don’t include in that punishment switching off the Interconnector in the next cold snap just because they can. We’ll see then the foolhardiness of basing an energy policy on reducing CO2 emissions (with zero effect on global emissions by the way for all the many billions we have thrown down the drain in respect of this).