In both the Netherlands and the EU, government policy is directed towards a clean, affordable and reliable energy mix. This goal demands not only energy savings and investments in renewables, but also support of CCS in order to achieve a low carbon footprint in the energy mix. However, public acceptance of onshore CCS in the Netherlands is low; therefore, the government has chosen to support only offshore CCS for the moment.
To facilitate the development of offshore CCS, the Dutch government and the European Union are co-funding the ROAD project together with the initiators, E.ON and GDF SUEZ. The ROAD project aims to develop a large-scale, integrated CCS demonstration project. This demonstration project encompasses the capture of 25% of the CO2 in the flue gases of a coal-fired power plant (owned by E.ON), transporting this through a 25 km pipeline (operated by GDF SUEZ) and storing it via an injection platform in a 3.5 km deep depleted gas reservoir (operated by TAQA).
ROAD needs a number of permits and consents to set up the demonstration project. The permitting process is the main process in which stakeholders can participate. By using this permitting process as a case study, and comparing it to a previous (unsuccessful) onshore CCS project in the Netherlands, we argue that it is best to start with a successful offshore CCS demonstration project. Mainly because the NIMBY effect does not play a role, public resistance against such an offshore CCS project is low. The government can then use this project to show that CCS can be done safely and without negatively impacting the environment or the public. In short: a successful offshore CCS project will help establish the necessary societal embedding for future CCS projects in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe, both onshore and offshore.
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