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Ten-T vote in European Parliament omits CO2 transport options

April 13, 2023 Work Area: Carbon Capture

Brussels – Today, the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism failed to explicitly endorse diverse, flexible modes of CO2 transport as a key element of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). 

The TEN-T regulation is a critical opportunity to incentivise decarbonisation projects in the transportation space.  Clean Air Task Force (CATF) has in particular called for provisions that would support various modes of transporting captured carbon to storage, such as rail, truck and waterways, as a way to expediate decarbonisation measures for industry across the bloc.  

“Today’s vote creates a mismatch between two pieces of European climate policy. While the TEN-E regulation embraces the infrastructure needed for carbon capture and storage deployment; TEN-T does not clarify support the importance of diverse, flexible modes of CO2 transport,” said Eadbhard Pernot – Policy Manager, Carbon Capture at CATF. “That means transport options like rail, ship, barge and truck could be excluded from cross-border CO2 networks and risks slowing down progress towards advancing carbon capture and storage to the scale the EU needs to store by 2050.” 

The European Commission has already laid out the key role of CO2 capture, transport, and storage for European climate ambitions. Last year, Commissioner Kadri Simson announced a communication on a strategic vision for carbon capture in Europe for 2023, while the landmark Net-Zero Industry Act was perhaps most notable for its breakthrough carbon capture related provisions. TEN-E and TEN-T can be seen as feed-ins to a comprehensive carbon capture strategy for Europe, so there is a danger that deficiencies adopted now could set the Commission on the wrong track. More broadly, removing barriers to the deployment of clean technologies is one of the biggest challenges for creating a European options-based climate policy, something that impacts carbon capture and storage, renewable energy resources, and hydrogen infrastructure alike. 

While several carbon capture and storage projects have been announced in the EU, enabling conditions like a robust CO2 transport infrastructure need to be put in place for these projects to materialise. Following the recent revision of the Trans-European Energy Networks (TEN-E) regulation, transport of CO2 to storage via pipeline, and storage projects themselves, can access both administrative support mechanisms and funding through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). But, other transport modalities such as ship, barge, rail, and truck do not have the same access to support and funding.  

Earlier this year, CATF joined more than 20 other organisations from industry, civil society and academia in calling for the inclusion of multiple transport modalities in TEN-T. 

As a relatively low-cost alternative with more flexibility, compared to pipelines, and with the potential to benefit European regions not connected to pipelines, the lack of support for multiple transport modalities results in negative market signals and continued high investor risk – delaying market development and vital emission reduction on the path to net-zero. 

“There are multiple projects under development that rely on non-pipeline transport, including Dartagnan, the Northern Lights Project, and the EU CCS Interconnector in Poland,” said Alessia Virone, EU Affairs Director at CATF. “This vote leaves those projects high and dry, not to mention that it endangers the storage targets and coordination provisions in NZIA.” 

The TEN-T decision speaks to lack of clarity facing clean technology developers in Europe. As Bruegel have noted, it is often unclear how EU and Member State policies can work together for deployment and innovation – the fact that TEN-T now does not line up with TEN-E is another layer of unnecessary complication that could set back commercialization of a crucial technology. 

As interinstitutional negotiations will start soon, CO2 transport modalities still have a chance to be added to the legislation. CATF implores policymakers to reconsider this oversight during trilogues. 

Press Contact 

Rowan Emslie, Communications Director, EU, [email protected], +32 476-97-36-42 

About Clean Air Task Force 

Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is a global nonprofit organization working to safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change by catalyzing the rapid development and deployment of low-carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies. With 25 years of internationally recognized expertise on climate policy and a fierce commitment to exploring all potential solutions, CATF is a pragmatic, non-ideological advocacy group with the bold ideas needed to address climate change. CATF has offices in Boston, Washington D.C., and Brussels, with staff working virtually around the world.   

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