Biomass Power Generation — [Mrs Anne Main in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:52 pm on 20th March 2013.

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Photo of Ian Swales Ian Swales Liberal Democrat, Redcar 2:52 pm, 20th March 2013

I thank the Minister for his intervention, which is exactly the sort of response that the Teesside consortium is looking for, so I am sure that his comments will be noted. I thought that the weight of process industry on Teesside was unlikely to be given due regard in the competition, because that was not one of the criteria, but as we have 18 of the largest 30 carbon emitters in the country, excluding energy, a Teesside project should go ahead at some point. I am pleased by the Minister’s response and I believe that there will be another meeting on the matter with his Department on Friday.

CCS leads me to talk about something that I do not think the hon. Member for Selby and Ainsty mentioned. Biomass with carbon capture and storage is one of the very few technologies that can sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for carbon-negative power. If we think about the problems we have in the world, how big a prize is that? We should seriously consider that combination of biomass with CCS, and the resulting sequestration.

I know that the Minister wants investment in infrastructure, which is a key aspect of current Government policy. The Teesport biomass plant is shovel-ready—I met the investors again this morning. I hope that it will receive his full support, but if his Department wants to cap such investments, will it please provide absolute clarity to investors so that time is not wasted, and we can all move on and think of something else to do? I repeat that the investors in such projects are receiving mixed messages.