The EU Commission is currently drafting a set of rules involving CO2 emissions and CCS technology that will be presented in January, 2008. The EU is working hard to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and has a goal to cut CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020. While they attempt to meet these goals and they see CCS as playing a major role in the long term, the EU is not sure if CCS will have an impact on the 2020 goals due to the current debate over the cost and safety of CCS. It is these issues that the EU Commission plans to address in their draft proposal.
Among the issues to be discussed in January is CO2's inclusion in the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS). Currently in the proposal, CO2 that is captured and stored will be "credited as not emitted under the Emissions Trading Scheme." The Commission's energy spokesman, Ferran Tarradellas said, "The January package will confirm CCS as a legitimate emission-mitigation technology fully recognized under ETS." He added that "additional incentives may be necessary to address the currently unfavorable economics of the CCS technologies." Those "additional incentives" would be very welcomed by the companies that are choosing to invest in the CCS technology.
The proposal will also outline the legal framework of CO2 storage. Under the framework, the Commission designates the member-states to draft permits for storage site approval based on a risk and impact assessment under current EU environmental laws. The Commission would then have up to 6 months to review the permit and would issue an opinion back to the member-states. The member-states would then consider the Commission's review, and, if not followed, inform the Commission as to the reason for departing from the review before approval of the final permit.
On the transportation front, the Commission sees CO2 as having no more risks than natural gas and would therefore be governed under the same current laws.
The storage site operators would also play a key role under the Commission's proposal. They are responsible for making sure that the injected CO2 has not been contaminated prior to injection. If it has, it would be potentially disastrous for the storage site. The operators are also responsible for monitoring the CO2 levels at all times to make sure there is no leakage.
The draft contains seven amendments updating current legislation on the capture and transportation of CO2. It calls for new power plants to be built with enough extra space for the equipment to capture and compress CO2 to be installed, however there is no current law requiring plants to be mandatorily fitted at any point. A Commission member recently admitted that they might have been too optimistic regarding CCS and that making it work will be "more costly and more complicated" than previously thought.