Tens of thousands of new jobs across Britain must be created across the country to underpin the growth of the carbon capture and storage industry, according to Ofgem CEO Jonathan Brearley.
Speaking after visits to CCS Teesside and Humberside regions on 16 January, he said decarbonising heavy industry, like steel, cement and refineries, hydrogen production and power plants needed a new generation of clean jobs.
Mr Brearley met the team behind the Viking CCS scheme, which is a carbon capture and storage project in the southern North Sea. He also toured several other carbon capture and low-carbon energy projects currently under construction in the East Coast Cluster, including a hydrogen plant.
Later in the day he also visited CATCH, which is an advanced engineering and industrial training facility in Humberside, and Teesworks Skills Academy, which links jobseekers, local employment hubs and skills providers across the Tees Valley. Mr Brearley met a number of apprentices at both training facilities and learnt about the specialist skills they are being equipped with to access the 20,000 new jobs expected to be created by the two regions’ carbon capture and low-carbon energy projects.
Following the visits, Mr Brearley met Tees Valley Mayor Lord Houchen on 17 January, to discuss in further detail how the region’s burgeoning carbon capture and low-carbon energy industry, including offshore wind, is set to create thousands of good-quality jobs for local people, as well as adding £1bn per year to the economy over 25 years.
The government has set ambitious targets to achieve 20-30mtpa of carbon storage and four operational CCUS clusters by 2030, which will support the delivery of 50,000 jobs in the industry.
Jonathan Brearley said:
“It’s inspiring to see such ambitious, innovative projects taking shape in Humberside and Teesside, which will help to create thousands of jobs and are critical to achieving the government’s target of decarbonise the power system by 2035, and reach net zero by 2050.
“The gas crisis, as much as the climate crisis, has shown the need for building our energy security from volatile international gas markets. Our role at Ofgem is to unlock investment and accelerate signing off infrastructure and facilities to ensure everyone can benefit from a net zero system as quickly as possible, at the lowest cost to consumers to protect businesses and households.
“These carbon capture and low-carbon projects will play a key role in delivering this cheaper, more secure and cleaner energy system for the country, and these apprenticeships and trainees will be going into the wide range of new, highly-skilled jobs needed to realise the net zero energy transition.”
Under the Energy Act 2023, Ofgem will be responsible for regulating the transportation and storage networks of carbon dioxide in the UK, and these networks will be part of the infrastructure needed for carbon capture and storage.
Notes to editors
The Energy Act 2023 sets out that Ofgem’s main regulatory duties in the carbon capture area are to protect the interests of current and future carbon dioxide (CO2) transport and storage network users – for example large industrial plants who want to decarbonise their operations by capturing and storing their CO2 emissions – and also to protect the interests of consumers who may be affected by our CO2 transport and storage regulatory activity. Ofgem is also responsible for promoting the efficient and economic development and operation of these transport and storage networks.
What is carbon capture and storage?
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a technology designed to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the Earth’s atmosphere. It involves three main steps:
- Capture: CO2 produced by power generation or industrial activity is captured before entering the atmosphere.
- Transport: The captured and compressed CO2 is then transported.
- Storage: The CO2 is stored deep underground. The North Sea has several geological sites which are considered an ideal place for storing captured carbon.
About Viking CCS
Viking CCS is a carbon capture and storage project in the Southern North Sea, and part of the Government’s ‘Track 2’ funding stream for CCS projects – which means it has been selected by Government to receive development funding.
About the East Coast Cluster
East Coast Cluster Partners includes a diverse mix of low carbon projects including industrial carbon capture, low carbon hydrogen production, negative emissions power, and power with carbon capture. All these technologies are important for the UK to meet its net zero targets.
CATCH is an advanced engineering and industrial training facility, including a three-storey process plant, control room, tank farm and VR process simulator. It provides training and apprenticeships for heavy industries including engineering, renewable energy and processing.
About Teesworks Skills Academy
The academy links jobseekers, local employment hubs and skills providers across the Tees Valley with a broad range of specialisms relevant to the requirements of Teesworks.