Vattenfall Cancels CCS Demonstration Project in Jänschwalde

Due to the political impasse with regard to a German CCS law, Vattenfall AG announced the cancellation of its EUR 1.5 billion CCS demonstration project in Jänschwalde and the exploration of possible storage facilities in Eastern Brandenburg.

The EU sponsored project ought to have commenced operations in 2015/16, using the CCS technology for the first time on a larger power plant scale and not only in a demonstration project size.

“We had to realise that there is presently not the political will in Germany to transpose Directive 2009/31/EC on the geological storage of carbon dioxide into a German CCS law”, Tuomo Hatakka, CEO of Vattenfall commented the decision.

A first attempt to enact a CCS law failed during the previous, sixteenth legislative period of the German Parliament (2005-2009).  It took until 7 July 2011 for the Bundestag (German Parliament) to finally adopt a new CCS Act. To somewhat mediate between the interests of states like Brandenburg that favour the CCS technology and Schleswig-Holstein and Lower-Saxony (the two states with the most suitable storage locations that have been lobbying for an opt-out clause for federal states), the CCS bill contained a clause which gave the federal states the right to designate areas for CCS pilot projects as well as areas in which such projects are not allowed. It was heavily criticised by the state of Brandenburg and Vattenfall. They called for a uniform nationwide applicable law.

Not surprisingly the bill did not win the necessary support in the Federal Council (Bundesrat), the legislative body that represents the interests of the federal states. Since consent for the bill is required under German constitutional law, the Federal Government therefore decided to exercise the constitutional right to invoke a mediation procedure to find a mutually agreeable compromise. However, two attempts have so far failed, Vattenfall points out, saying billion Euro investments could not be made without a having a legal basis in the form of a substantially improved CCS bill.

As CCS was a critical technology for global climate protection, Vattenfall would nevertheless continue to operate its CCS pilot project in Schwarze Pumpe, Brandenburg, research CCS, and participate in European CCS projects, Vattenfall said. This also included the will to build a power plant with CCS technology in Jänschwalde in the 2020s. Generally, the expansion of a European transport and storage infrastructures was especially important, Vattenfall pointed out.

Source: Vattenfall

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