EON AG, Alstom SA (ALO) and Drax Group Plc (DRX) are among 17 power companies and industry groups asking European Union regulators to push out the deadline for a carbon-capture and storage program after national governments failed to complete financing guarantees that would trigger more than 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in EU funding.
The companies asked the EU Commission to defer a first round of awards under the NER300 program “for just a few months” as they negotiate with governments for the guarantees, according to a statement issued yesterday by the London-based Carbon Capture & Storage Association.
The EU is promoting the development of carbon-capture systems and two to three projects were expected to receive as much as 337 million euros each in the program’s first phase. National governments must guarantee funds, a requirement that hasn’t been met by most proposals. The lapse may cost the U.K. about 600 million euros in EU funding, said Chris Davies, a member of the EU Parliament’s Environment Committee.
“The NER300 only exists because Britain created it,” he said by phone yesterday. “It’s ludicrous that we should miss it.” Only France has made a firm commitment to support a CCS project, he said in a Nov. 11 statement.
“There may only be one CCS project selected for funding under the first tranche,” according to the statement. “A number of promising CCS demonstration projects around Europe may miss out on NER300 funding.” It didn’t identify the one project that may be eligible for funding.
“We are extremely disappointed that the process seems to have come to a conclusion without support for any projects,” Jeff Chapman, chief executive officer of the Carbon Capture & Storage Association, said in a phone interview yesterday.
The U.K. submitted two proposals to the NER300 program, for the Teesside and White Rose projects, Energy Secretary Ed Davey said Oct. 30. Britain has pledged 1 billion pounds ($1.59 billion) for CCS technology and hasn’t committed funding to specific projects as required for the NER300 program.
“Brussels officials are making no secret of the fact that the government has failed to guarantee that it will provide its own funding for the selected projects, and is giving no pledges that it will make such a commitment anytime soon, if at all,” Davies said in the Nov. 11 statement.
The NER300 program will announce its selection before the end of the year, Isaac Valero-Ladron, climate spokesman for the commission, said by e-mail.
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