Four European utilities drop EU CCS technology project

Mon Jan 19, 2015 11:47am GMT

* Utilities say CCS technology too expensive

* Pull out of ZEP, which advises the European Commission on CCS

By Alister Doyle

OSLO, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Four European utilities have pulled out of a European project studying carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a way to combat global warming, arguing the technology is too costly, a letter obtained by Reuters showed on Monday.

Germany's RWE AG, France's Electricite de France , Sweden's Vattenfall AB and Spain's Gas Natural Fenosa quit the Zero Emission Platform (ZEP), which advises the European Commission about CCS technologies.

"The utility group has decided to stop its engagement in the ZEP," according to the letter dated Jan. 12 to Graeme Sweeney, chair of the ZEP advisory council.

Set up a decade ago, the ZEP is a coalition of companies, scientists and environmental groups seeking ways to capture and bury heat-trapping carbon emissions mainly from the exhausts of coal, oil and gas-fired power plants.

But CCS has failed to live up to early hopes of wide adoption to slow climate change. After many years of research, Saskatchewan Power opened the world's first coal-fired power plant retrofitted with CCS in October.

"We currently do not have the necessary economic framework conditions in Europe to make CCS an attractive technology to invest in," the letter said. It added that CCS would play an important role cutting greenhouse gas emissions in future.   Continued...

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