In a move to reduce the overall carbon emissions in the UK, the British government has passed new regulations that will require new coal power plants to include carbon capture and storage. If the plants do not incorporate carbon capture and storage into their design, they will not be approved for construction. While this sounds like it will keep unclean coal burning plants from being built, the reality is that it probably won’t really deter new coal power plants. As groups like Cleantech point out, it’s only a really small step in the right direction.
Why is this? Well, the regulations state that carbon capture and storage is required for 400 MW of output from all new coal plants. By 2025, the regulations will have expanded to cover 100% of all emissions. However, the reason why this isn’t as good of a deal as it seems is because the 100% requirement in 2025 will only be in effect if the technology to capture all emissions actually exists at that point. That’s a pretty big loophole.
The biggest problem is that the funds to develop this technology just aren’t there yet. What may happen is that coal plants will “do their best” in dealing with carbon emissions, but since they can simply say that they don’t have the technology to capture all emissions, they can’t be held responsible for actually upholding the regulations. Banning the building of plants that don’t at least try to capture and store is something, but with this loophole in the regulations, it simply isn’t enough to truly cut out all carbon emissions in the UK.