The following investigation was published on the EU Observer last September 25th and we decided to re publish it in view of its translation that we are taking care of on the Italian Page of the TIRES-CETRI web site, to spread information and sparkle a debate on how badly EU tax payers money is wasted just to permit the fossil industry to survive a few more years. In fact what we learn from this investigation is that, like in the Wolkswagen diesel scum two years ago, there is NO clean way to make energy from fossil fuels. And all attempts to establish that, resulted, results and will result in an intolerable waste of public resources and a diversion of public funds from much more needed clean and zero marginal cost Third Industrial revolution solar energy technologies. The only sustainable economic plans are decarbonized economic plans. All the rest is a travesty and should be banned immediately for a fast transition to a post carbon, T.I.R. society.
Angelo Consoli. President of the Third Industrial Revolution European Society (T.I.R.E.S.)
Ten years ago, EU leaders said there were “huge possible global benefits of a sustainable use of fossil fuels”.
They said, after a summit in Brussels in March 2007, that a technology called ‘carbon capture and sequestration’, also known as carbon capture and storage (CCS), should be deployed with new fossil-fuel power plants by 2020.
This technology would reduce the negative impact the extensive use of energy sources coal, oil, and gas have on the earth’s climate.
Brussels also said the EU should have twelve “demonstration plants of sustainable fossil fuel technologies in commercial power generation” operating by 2015.
EUobserver has found that a decade later, the European Union has spent at least €587 million in grants, subsidies, and public procurement on CCS.
This website has been able to identify 63 projects that received an EU subsidy or grant in the past decade, and another five public procurement projects, related to CCS.
But, as of 2017, the EU has zero CCS demonstration plants.
European Energy Programme for Recovery
The biggest chunk went to recipients of the European Energy Programme for Recovery, set up in 2009, during the financial and economic crisis.
Under the plan, €1 billion would be made available to fund CCS projects. Six projects across Europe were selected.
However, these soon ran into problems.
Within five years, three of the projects – in Germany, Poland, and Italy – had been terminated, while the others, in Spain, the UK, and the Netherlands, had been considerably delayed.
But after that successful test, the technology was never scaled-up for commercial use.
Earlier this year, the Italian owner of the coal-fired power plant that was the site of the tests, announced that plant would close in 2020.
That meant one CCS project funded under the European Energy Programme for Recovery remained: the ROAD project in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
“ROAD would be the first project in Europe demonstrating the application of post-combustion CCS technology to a commercial scale coal power plant,” the commission said last year.
“This would also mean the successful demonstration of technology capable of retrofitting existing coal power plants.”
However, in June 2017 the Dutch government announced that the two energy companies behind the ROAD project have pulled out.
Jonas Helseth, of the CCS-supportive campaign group Bellona, told EUobserver he had no regrets about ROAD’s demise.
“I’m happy it’s cancelled because it was not a good project,” said Helseth.
The CO2 capturing would apply to a coal-fired power plant, which, Helseth said, might not even have a long life.
“The Dutch parliament has actually voted for a coal phase-out, so this is not a place to spend public money,” he said.