UK Government wasted £100m on cancelled Carbon Capture and Storage competition, finds National Audit Office

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 20 January 2017 in News

NAO says money spent by BEIS did not achieve value for money

Emissions - credit: Holyrood

The UK Government spent £100m on its carbon capture and storage competition, before then abandoning the scheme entirely, according to a new report by The National Audit Office (NAO).

In a new report, the NAO found the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) £100m spend, on the second competition for government financial support for carbon capture storage, did not achieve value for money.

The NAO reports that BEIS also spent £68m on the first competition on support for CCS, which it cancelled in 2011.


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The NAO found BEIS began the competition without getting agreement from the Treasury on the amount of financial support available over the lifetime of the projects. It says: “This ultimately contributed to HM Treasury’s decision to withdraw £1 billion of funding from the competition, leading to its cancellation, as it was concerned about future costs to consumers”.

Releasing the report, Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: “The Department has now tried twice to kick start CCS in the UK, but there are still no examples of the technology working. There are undoubtedly challenges in getting CCS established, but the Department faced an uphill battle as a result of the way it ran the latest competition.

“Not being clear with HM Treasury about what the budget is from the start would hamper any project, and caused particular problems in this case where the upfront costs are likely to be high. The Department must learn lessons from this experience if it is to stand any chance of ensuring the first CCS plants are built in the near future."

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