EU gives green light to €1m funding for Cork carbon capture project

2 Oct 2020700 Views

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The EU has signed off on almost €1bn in grants for 10 energy infrastructure projects, including the Ervia carbon capture project off the Cork coast.

Ervia, the parent company of Gas Networks Ireland, has been awarded a grant worth €1.04m by the EU. It is one of 10 European energy infrastructure projects awarded funding under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) call. The European Commission (EC) said in a statement that member states have agreed to invest a total of €998m in these 10 key projects.

The Ervia Cork Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) project was included in the EC’s ‘Project of Common Interest’ list revealed in December last year. Its aim is to use the Kinsale gas field as an offshore carbon storage site where emissions can be pumped into porous rock and stored many kilometres beneath the planet’s surface.

Following the site’s decommissioning, which was approved earlier this year, Ervia believes its existing gas connections can be used to pump emissions from Ireland’s gas-fired power stations underground. The EC funding announced today (2 October) will be used to finance a preliminary study of its feasibility.

Crucial for meeting targets

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While climate scientists continue to emphasise the need to prioritise wind and solar energy deployment, carbon capture was noted as a potential key component in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) reports on reducing carbon emissions.

Earlier this year, researchers from Imperial College London estimated that storing 2,700 gigatons of CO2 would be enough to play a major part in reaching the IPCC target of limiting the global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Commenting on the 10 successful projects funded under CEF, the EU’s commissioner for energy, Kadri Simson, said: “These 10 projects will contribute to a more modern, secure and smart energy infrastructure system, which is crucial for delivering the European Green Deal and meeting our ambitious 2030 climate targets.”

The single largest funding recipient under this call was the second phase of the Baltic Synchronisation Project, which received €720m to better integrate the electricity markets of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Other projects included a smart electricity grid linking Hungary and Slovakia (which received €102m), and the first-ever CEF grant for works on a CO2 transport project for Belgian and Dutch ports (which also received €102m).

Colm Gorey is a senior journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

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