National Grid is quitting its foray into developing carbon-capture-and-storage in the UK, in a blow to the Government's net-zero ambitions.

The FTSE 100 company is abandoning its plans to develop new pipelines in the Humber region to take carbon dioxide emissions out to the North Sea.

The Telegraph says the firm's National Grid Ventures arm is in talks to sell the onshore pipeline project to partners, and has already quit another phase of the project.

Carbon-capture-and-storage is considered key to the government’s plans to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, but is not yet up and running at scale in the UK.

Power plants in the Humber region hoping to start capturing their emissions missed out on a fresh round of government support announced at the end of last month.

National Grid said it wants to focus instead on its electricity networks, which are in major need of upgrades to help cope with the rise in wind farms, electric cars and heat pumps.

Smooth transition

A spokesman said it was “committed to managing a smooth transition” as it moved to transfer its carbon-capture interests to partners.

To meet its net-zero goals, the government wants about 20million-30million tonnes of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions to be captured and stored underground by 2030.

National Grid, through its National Grid Ventures arm, has been involved in plans to capture emissions from two of the UK’s biggest industrial areas – Humber and Teesside – and store them under the North Sea.

Under the plans, it would develop pipelines starting at Drax’s power station in North Yorkshire and collecting emissions from factories and power plants in North Lincolnshire, carrying them out towards Easington on the coast.

From there, those emissions as well as emissions piped over separately from Teesside would be piped out to a storage site underneath the North Sea, where they would be stashed to avoid adding to emissions in the atmosphere.

This offshore section of the project has been developed so far by a coalition of companies known as the Northern Endurance Partnership (NEP) including BP, Total, Shell and National Grid Ventures.

Selling interests

However, National Grid Ventures has now quit the NEP and is also in the process of selling its interests in the planned new Humber pipelines to the NEP.

BP is now expected to become the system operator from end to end.

It emerged last month that the Acorn carbon-capture-and-storage development at St Fergus is edging closer to reality.

There was a positive update in the UK’s energy-security plan on the possibility of Track 2 funding for the north-east scheme.

The Scottish Cluster decarbonisation initiative, which could deliver more than 20,000 jobs, is led by Acorn and comprises a cross-sector group of Scottish industrial CO2 emitters.

The UK Government has confirmed that Acorn is a leading contender for development in the Track 2 funding round.

Acorn a front runner

Acorn missed out on Track 1 funding in 2021, and has long been considered a front runner for Track 2. The government says Acorn is one of the two best placed for this funding.

Backers of the Cluster, including Storegga, Shell and SSE, said confirmation of Track 2 status would bring “much-needed investor confidence” and support the development of various projects across Scotland.

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