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Government carbon capture snub is “devastating blow” to Teesside
A MAJOR green energy project in the region that aimed to create up to 1,250 jobs has been rejected by the government.
The Teesside carbon capture and storage (CCS) project, which would have been based on the Wilton International chemical complex, has lost out to rival schemes in Aberdeenshire and Selby in Yorkshire.
Alex Cunningham, Stockton North MP, said: "The Government's refusal to see the clear business and economic case for Teesside Low Carbon is nothing short of a slap in the face to the people of Teesside.
"While unemployment may not be such a big issue in every corner of the country, it certainly is in constituencies like Stockton North.
"This project would have been a fantastic shot in the arm to the local economy, creating jobs and attracting new industry and business to Teesside. Instead, the Government have delivered this devastating blow, and let down hundreds of thousands of people right across our region."
The two preferred bidders were selected following negotiations with four projects shortlisted from an original eight last October.
CCS technology allows the safe removal and storage of harmful carbon emissions from coal and gas fired power stations and heavy industry.
The Tees project has been told its "in reserve" if the preferred bids fail to pass a series of government tests. The consortium of BOC, GDF Suez, Premier Oil and Progressive Energy planned to develop a syngas plant to convert coal to carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen.
The hydrogen would have been used to generate electricity and the CO2 captured and transported for storage under the North Sea.
It was hoped that about 250 direct jobs were created - in what could, ultimately, be a £2bn project - with 1,000 construction workers involved over a four-year period.
Edward Davey, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said: "We had four excellent bids and I'd like to thank each one of them for their hard work. We will now be working swiftly to progress our preferred two, while making sure we continue to provide the best possible value to tax payers."
In the budget controversial fracking won backing with promises of a generous new tax regime for extracting shale gas.
George Osborne said shale gas is part of the future and we will make it happen as he unveiled measures to support the new industry, including field allowances to promote early investment in the sector. Bryan Bunn, managing director of Wynyard-based Nortech group welcomed the move.
Shale gas is exploited through drilling into rock and fracturing it with high pressure liquid to extract the gas, in a process known as fracking.
Supporters say shale gas production in the UK could provide a cheap, secure source of energy, but opponents are worried about the possibility of earthquakes and water pollution caused by fracking.
The Chancellor said proposals would be developed to ensure that local communities would benefit from shale gas projects in their area.
North-East heavy industry could be set to benefit from a proposed exemption to the Climate Change Levy. The Chancellor said in the upcoming Spending Round he would provide support for energy intensive industries beyond 2015.
Environmental groups were quick to criticise the Chancellors support for fossil fuels, saying green sector growth was outstripping the wider UK economy and should be backed rather than polluting energy sources that would not help cut bills.
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