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United Kingdom

UK government policies on industrial decarbonisation
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Net zero target

In 2019, the UK became the first major economy to adopt a net zero emissions target for 2050. The UK has an a set of interim carbon budgets to ensure consistent progress towards this goal, targeting a 52% reduction compared to 1990 levels for 2023-27, a 58% reduction for 2028-2032 and a 77% reduction for 2033-37. The UK’s Nationally Determined Contribution also commits to a 68% emissions reduction by 2030. While the UK has adopted a wide range of policies to drive decarbonisation, the independent Climate Change Committee has warned the UK is not on track to meet its emissions targets, in particular the 2030 target of a 68% cut.
Canada–2030(2)
2030
Capture 20-30 MtCO2 including 6 MtCO2 of industrial emissions per year
Canada-2030(3)
2030

Deploy at least 5 MtCO2 per year of engineered greenhouse gas removals

UK-2030(3)
2030
Establish CCUS in 2 industrial clusters by late 2020s and aim for 4 clusters by 2030
UK-2045
2045
Net zero emissions for Scotland
UK-2050
2050
Net zero emissions for UK
Key climate policies
Energy Act (2023)

Energy Act 2023 will accelerate the growth of low-carbon technologies including carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) and hydrogen. This is accomplished by business models which will attract private investment by providing long-term revenue certainty.

Additionally, the measures on CO2 transport and storage (T&S) put the country on a path to seize market share and grow the economy.

The Act features:

  • Financial assistance: Providing the Secretary of State with UK-wide powers to incur expenditure and provide long-term financial assistance to support the establishment of CCUS and low carbon Hproduction.
  • Counterparty: The contractual nature of the ICC and hydrogen business models require a counterparty to manage the contracts and act as a conduit for funding. The Bill provides the Secretary of State with powers to designate and direct a counterparty.
  • Competitive Allocation: Initial projects are expected to be allocated support through a bilateral process. In the medium term, the business models are expected to move to a more competitive allocation process, similar to the low carbon contracts for difference, to reduce costs to the government and the consumer.
  • Hydrogen Production Levy: It is expected that from 2025 at the latest, all revenue support for low-carbon hydrogen production will be levy funded, subject to consultation and legislation in place.
  • CO2 Transport and Storage (T&S) licensing framework: The Bill establishes an economic regulation model for CO2 T&S, with statutory objectives and legal powers for Ofgem as the economic regulator of CO2 T&S.

Further information: Energy Act 2023

Powering Up Britain

Powering Up Britain is the UK’s current energy and climate strategy, which collectively set outs how the UK’s net zero targets and energy security and affordability goals will be met. The plan puts industrial decarbonisation, particularly through deployment of CCS, at its centre, and includes commitments to:

  • Provide £20bn over 20 years for immediate deployment of selected CCS projects in the Track 1 clusters.
  • Support the development of two additional carbon storage clusters by 2030, taking the total to 4.
  • Develop policies to support non-pipeline transport of CO2.
  • Extend the duration of the UK ETS scheme, and expand the sectors covered.
  • Consult on policy options to mitigate the risk of carbon leakage.

Further information: Powering up Britain

The CCUS Vision

The CCUS Vision, published in December 2023, detailed the UK’s strategy for growing its CCUS sector up to 2050. It proposes a three phase programme of Market Creation up to 2030, Market Transition to a commercial and competitive market from 2030 to 2035, and the existence of a self-sustaining CCUS market from 2035 onwards. It also announced a number of specific policy actions they will take to this end, detailed separately on this page.

Further information: CCUS Vision

Carbon pricing
UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS)

The UK ETS opened for trading in May 2021, replacing the country’s participation in the EU ETS on 1 January 2021.

The UK ETS cap is expected to align with the UK’s net zero targets from 2024. The total cap for Phase 1 (2021 – 2030) is proposed to be reduced by 30-35% from current levels. Currently, the UK ETS covers: energy-intensive industries, the power generation sector and aviation. The ETS will be expanded to cover domestic maritime from 2026, and the waste sector from 2028.

The price trajectory of allowances is expected to continue and even accelerate as the total number reduces to align the scheme with the UK’s net zero target, in addition to fewer free allowances. It is likely that this will increase the cost base for businesses either through a direct effect where companies are required to purchase allowances at a higher carbon price, or an indirect effect as the higher price is passed along the value chain. As a result, businesses will have to undertake emissions reduction measures.

Further information: UK ETS and UK Gov

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Hydrogen strategy

To meet these ambitions, the UK has committed to supporting both electrolytic and CCUS-enabled hydrogen production.

By mid-2020s, we could start seeing larger (100MW) electrolytic hydrogen projects and the first CCUS-enabled hydrogen production facilities based in industrial clusters. By the end of the decade, there could be multiple large CCUS-enabled (500MW+) production facilities across the UK.

Currently, over a dozen large-scale hydrogen projects are ongoing or pending (e.g. Acorn, Gigastack, H21).

By setting up a hydrogen certification scheme by 2025, a new Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard is being established. This will support the UK in playing an active role in the international hydrogen market.

Further information: Hydrogen Investor Roadmap; UK Hydrogen Strategy

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10GW

Hydrogen production capacity by 2030
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20GW

Potential hydrogen projects in pipeline by 2037
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£240m

The Net Zero Hydrogen Fund (NZHF)

The Net Zero Hydrogen Fund (NZHF) which is worth up to £240 million, will fund the development and deployment of new low-carbon hydrogen production to de-risk investment and reduce lifetime costs. NZHF’s grant allocation is split into the following 4 strands:

  • Strand 1: Development expenditure (DEVEX) for front-end engineering design (FEED) and post-FEED activities, aims to build the pipeline of hydrogen production projects to measurably move these closer to deployment. The application window for strand 1 has now closed.
  • Strand 2: Capital expenditure (CAPEX) support for hydrogen production projects that do not require revenue support through the Hydrogen Business Model (HBM). Applicants for Strand 2 must demonstrate how they will develop a credible project that will contribute to the at-scale production of low-carbon hydrogen by 2025. Strand 2 closes on 13 July 2022.
  • Strand 3: CAPEX for non-CCUS enabled projects which require revenue support through the hydrogen business model.
  • Strand 4: CAPEX for CCUS-enabled projects which require revenue support through the hydrogen business model. Strand 4 NZHF’s Expression of Interest process will launch following the announcement of the Phase-2 shortlisted projects, followed by a Strand 4 application process in early 2023.
Other policies
Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism

The UK Government is consulting on a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism. Under this policy, imported goods in key sectors would be liable for charges depending on the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of the imported good, and the gap between the carbon price applied in the country of origin and the carbon price that would have been applied had the good been produced in the UK. It is intended to apply from 2027, and will be consulted on in 2024.

Further information: UK carbon border adjustment mechanism 

Carbon Contracts for Difference
Contracts for difference for captured CO2, effectively guaranteeing a minimum price, will be set via competitive allocation rounds, starting in 2027. A consultation is due this year.
Non-Pipeline Transport

The UK Government will publish a call for evidence this year on how they envisage delivering non-pipeline CO2 transport in the UK.

Further information: Open call for CCUS transport

Funding
$20 billion Spring Budget 2023

In the 2023 Spring Budget the UK Government allocated £20bn over the next 20 years to support the development of carbon capture and storage, specifically support the HyNet, Acorn, East Coast Cluster and Viking storage projects and emitter projects connecting to these.

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Decarbonisation policies

Governments worldwide are introducing policies and regulations to deliver industrial decarbonisation, including the deployment of CCUS. Discover more on specific government action, via the links below.

Disclaimer

The information contained in these pages is, as of the date of its inclusion in these pages, believed to be accurate and free from error, but the author(s) provide no warranty to this effect, nor will the author(s) be liable for any party for the consequence(s) of any reliance placed thereon by such party.

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