LONDON Oct 15 European government officials
have approved a proposal to delay deadlines for final investment
decisions and the operational launch of Europe's first
commercial-scale carbon capture and storage plant and 40
renewable energy projects.
The measure, proposed by the European Commission following
pressure from seven EU member states including Britain, France
and Germany, throws a lifeline to some projects struggling to
comply with the EU's 2.1 billion euro ($2.7 billion) scheme to
cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The recipients under the first round of the NER300 programme
had been due to make their final investment decisions by the end
of 2014 and be operational by the end of 2016, but seven EU
nations asked the Commission to delay all deadlines by two
Projects awarded funding in the second round announced in
July now have until 2018 for final investment decisions and 2020
The delays mean the viability of some of the first projects
awarded cash will not be known for another two years, and those
on the NER300's waiting list are now less likely to get funding.
British utility Drax was awarded 300 million euros
in the programme's second round to help it develop technology to
capture 1.8 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually from a
coal-fired power plant in northern England and bury them in a
depleted gas field in the North Sea.
Forty renewable energy projects across 20 EU countries were
awarded grants worth around 1.8 billion euros.
Developers of several projects have since said they are
unable to move forward for various reasons, offering to hand
back the cash.
Funds for the NER300 were raised through the sale of 300
million carbon allowances under the EU's Emissions Trading
System between 2011 and 2014, a reserve of permits set aside for
new entrants in the bloc's carbon market.
(editing by Jane Baird)