A CARBON CAPTURE AND STORAGE AUTHORITY
111. It became apparent during the course of the
inquiry that a number of different parts of Government have an
interest in, and/or expertise of relevance to, CCS. The DTI has
led much of the work on CCS through its Cleaner Fossil Fuels Programme
and has responsibilities for energy and the hydrocarbon industry.
DEFRA is the lead Department for climate change and multilateral
environmental agreements (such as the OSPAR and London Convention).
George Marsh, a DTI adviser, highlighted a role for the Health
and Safety Executive (HSE) in pipeline regulation: "As far
as the engineering aspect of carbon capture and storage is concerned,
in other words the power plant, the pipeline and the operation
of the platform, the regulatory standards for safety exist and
are operated through the Health & Safety Executive".
E.ON UK also noted that "existing implementation of the EU
ETS already involves the EA [Environment Agency], DEFRA and the
112. In oral evidence, Dr Gibbins from UKCCSC, proposed
a solution to streamline the regulation of CCS: "It has been
the thought of the UK Carbon Capture and Storage Consortium that
it would be useful to have a carbon capture and storage authority
which is an independent, national body that assesses the risks,
monitors the appropriate operation of a storage scheme and, in
the longer term, assumes responsibility, not without payment,
but I think that is the way we have to move ahead".
We subsequently put the idea to a number of other witnesses, most
of whom were supportive of the concept. Air Products told us:
"We would actively support the establishment of a Carbon
Capture and Storage Authority", while Nick Otter from Alstom
Power described it as "a good idea".,
113. At present, multiple Government Departments
and agencies, including the DTI, DEFRA, Environment Agency and
the Health and Safety Executive, have expertise and functions
that would be required for the regulation and monitoring of CCS.
In the absence of a Department of Energy, we propose the establishment
of a CCS Authority to bring together all the relevant functions.
We believe that a single body in this area could make regulation
more transparent, thus building public confidence, as well as
minimising bureaucracy for companies engaging in CCS projects.
In order to ensure that these objectives are met, it is essential
that all the relevant onshore and offshore functions be subsumed
into the CCS Authority, leaving no residual responsibilities in
other Departments, and that the Authority has a clearly defined
line of accountability to a single Secretary of State.
114. The CCS Authority would fulfil all the key regulatory
functions pertaining to CCS. The initial priorities for a CCS
Authority would include taking a lead in the establishment of:
a clear legal framework for onshore and offshore CO2
storage; planning and regulatory guidelines for granting consent
for CCS projects; clear requirements for monitoring and inspection
of CO2 storage sites; and an appropriate process of
transferring liability from the private sector to the Government
once the injection phase is complete. The CCS Authority could
also play an important role in advising Government on the development
of incentive frameworks to promote investment in CCS (see chapter
6). In addition, an early task for the CCS Authority would be
to review the 1998 Petroleum Act to examine whether and how it
should be amended to facilitate CCS (paragraph 110). Once the
relevant regulatory and market frameworks were in place, the CCS
Authority would then take responsibility for implementation, including
monitoring and verification. In view of the wide range of tasks
required to put in place the necessary regulatory frameworks for
CCS, and the urgency with which they need to be undertaken, the
Government should not delay in taking steps to establish the CCS
Authority. Indeed, the Energy Review provides an ideal opportunity
to set this process in motion. Clearly, the process of establishing
the Authority must not lead to any delays in granting approval
for the first demonstration projects.