European Carbon Capture May Get EU1.5 Billion Subsidy

By Jeremy van Loon and Todd White | Bloomberg

Experimental projects to capture and bury carbon dioxide from European power plants may get 1.5 billion euros ($1.9 billion) in new subsidies to cover start-up costs, a member of the European Parliament said today.

Five to seven demonstration projects may be eligible for funds from a 5 billion-euro European Union energy package that’s still being negotiated, Chris Davies said in an interview at a Berlin conference. Poland is seeking money to host two of the projects, said Davies, who represents Britain in the parliament.

Europe is pioneering new technology to protect both the environment and its most polluting power plants that burn coal, one of the dirtiest fuels for making electricity. Germany’s RWE AG and Vattenfall Europe AG, along with Electricite de France SA and Italy’s Enel SpA, are among the continent’s biggest consumers of coal to supply power. Heat-trapping gases from power plants and vehicles add to the greenhouse effect that warms the planet.

“It should happen,” Davies predicted of the new funding. The money will come from EU energy legislation that also backs natural-gas pipelines and insulation for buildings, he said.

Technology to store industrial CO2 underground for eons is vital to the United Nation’s plan to halve worldwide emissions of global-warming gases by 2050, the International Energy Agency says. The Paris-based adviser to 28 oil-importing nations last month called for 20 demonstration projects to be built worldwide.

The EU has vowed to trim greenhouse-gas emissions 20 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels.

Emission Permits

Last year the 27-nation bloc set aside as much as 300 million emission allowances, worth about 4.4 billion euros at the current market price, to back development of new capture- and-storage devices. EU officials haven’t made clear whether project developers would directly receive the permits, which could be sold for cash, or get cash raised by EU member governments through auctioning the allowances.

Spokespeople in Brussels for the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, weren’t immediately available to comment on the remarks by Davies.

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