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Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com: Green power ‘needs kick-start’

From Upstreamonline
By Upstream staff

27 June 2006

Technology to cut greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon capture and offshore wind, needs government support to make it competitive, Graeme Sweeney, the head of Shell International Renewables, part of Anglo-Dutch supermajor Shell, said today.

The debate about where to source future energy is an increasingly hot topic as countries such as Britain, the US and China plan to build new power plant, and concerns about energy security and the threat of climate change grow, Reuters reported.

Britain will release details next year of a review of its power generation options, widely expected to give a green light to new nuclear power plants and more renewable energy support as it tries both to keep the lights on and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Carbon capture needs special sweeteners to get it off the ground, Sweeney said, as there is no particular financial incentive for power producers to add the technology to their continued burning of fossil fuels.

Carbon capture involves burying heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide underground.

“It would require substantial public incentives to get this up and running,” Sweeney told a climate change conference in London.

“There’s plenty of hydrocarbons (left) and people are going to use it. There are large amounts of coal, oil, oil sands and oil shales.”

“If you want to capture 10% of carbon emitted from current fossil fuel activity, the infrastructure (required) would be the same size as the oil and gas industry to deal with the volume. So you better get started soon.”

Britain has a long-term goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2050. Government will need to favour particular technologies, rather than leaving the energy mix to the market, Sweeney said.

“There is a problem to get stuff taken off the shelf and deployed. I believe offshore wind can go… but you need to give it a differential position.”

Onshore wind provides a small but rapidly growing portion of the world’s energy supply, partly as a result of tax breaks and minimum quotas and other subsidies.

Shell would announce shortly a 100 megaWatt plant in Germany for second-generation solar activity, Sweeney added.

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