Strathclyde outlines £300m carbon capture potential

Professor Karen Turner

More than 3,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs could be supported and £300 million generated for the UK economy through the establishment of a CO2 Transport and Storage (T&S) sector in Scotland linked to the deployment of Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS).

That’s according to the findings of new research published in a report from the Centre for Energy Policy (CEP) at the University of Strathclyde — which suggest that action on worker and skills shortages will be the key to realising these economic gains.

“The jobs and GDP figures for a T&S sector that is fully operational by 2030 are respectively 300% and 84% higher than estimates for a scenario where no action is taken to alleviate current and persisting labour market constraints and pressures,” said the university.

“The study was undertaken by CEP as part of the Scotland’s Net Zero Infrastructure (SNZI) programme – funded by UKRI’s Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge and focusing on the Acorn T&S system, one of four supported by the UK Government.

“Economic gains could be further amplified if a Scottish T&S sector develops an export market to sequester emissions from elsewhere in the UK or overseas.

“The full-time equivalent jobs supported could increase to just over 4,900 and GDP to nearly £490m per annum by 2042. These projections are based on continuing government support into the early 2040s.”

Professor Karen Turner, Lead Investigator and Centre for Energy Policy Director at the University of Strathclyde, said: “Lessons from CEP’s research on establishing a CO2 T&S sector in Scotland suggest there are significant potential gains to be had in terms of jobs and economic growth.

“Benefits emerging across the wider economy could offset the costs of the investment needed and those of government support.

“Yet, as with other efforts across the net zero space, a focus on addressing persistent skills and worker shortages is crucial. This is in terms of both maximising economic gains, and enabling a just transition that delivers sustainable and more equitable prosperity.

“Government and industry must work together to consider the sequencing of projects to avoid the potential congestion effects of increased demand and competition for resources associated with multiple net zero and other infrastructure projects coming online simultaneously.

“This will be vital to ensuring that costs to projects, to the wider economy, and ultimately to taxpayers are not driven up unnecessarily. It will also ensure the timely completion of projects that are necessary for the UK to achieve its net zero goals.”