Germany announces offshore carbon storage plan

CO2 Markets & Reforestation

Germany announces offshore carbon storage plan

Germany recently announced it has made plans to look into and begin enabling underground carbon storage at offshore sites. The first steps the country will take towards doing this, are to push forwards with the technology that has been under debate for quite a while.

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Amsterdam, Feb.29 th 2024 — Robert Habeck, who is the country’s vice chancellor and economy and climate minister, spoke about this important decision that was recently made. 

” Due to the serious lack of time we have left to combat climate change, which pushed the decision to be made “, he said.

Whilst it is clear that Europe’s biggest economy is certainly making good progress around expanding renewable energy sources and usage, the idea that a larger solution is necessary for the carbon dioxide issue has quickly become very pressing. 

This issue has become more pressing due to the sectors such as the cement industry, which Habeck has said are, “ very hard to abate” and are therefore causing the issue of climate change to accelerate more rapidly. 

These sectors are causing this acceleration because of the amount of Co2 they are releasing into the atmosphere and the rate at which they are doing this.  

The movement the country is now looking to make, aligns with their aim to cut emissions to ‘net zero’ by 2045. 

To do this, Habeck proposed a “carbon management strategy”, which once turned into detailed legislation, will bring about the transport of carbon dioxide and will also enable the storage of this carbon dioxide under the sea. 

There are specifically planned sites for this carbon to be stored and that will be in Germany’s exclusive economic zone, aside from where this zone falls under marine conservation areas. 

At the moment, these storage sites will be kept strictly offshore, however, Habeck has stated that onshore storage sites could be considered as a possibility later down the line, if approved by the German state government.

There have been some comments and concerns about this idea, especially concerning which businesses would be allowed to continue operating as they are, as well as how effective carbon capture technologies are. 

However, after taking these concerns into account, Habeck stated that “the technology has been developed further and from my point of view it is mature and safe.” 

He also commented on how the technology that is planned to be used in these storage sites is already being used in other projects, not just research, and it is proving extremely effective.

When talking about similar projects, Habeck referenced the project located in Denmark, which was launched in 2023 and was born with ambitions to store substantial amounts of carbon dioxide under the North Sea. 

In mentioning this project, he also confirmed that it would be ‘a few years’ before storing Co2 under the sea will realistically be possible for Germany. However, in the lead up to the point that it will be possible, he advised that the best thing for Germany to do, would be to coordinate their decisions with European initiatives, such as the Danish project, or projects located in Norway, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Habeck commented, “Time has run out. In the 2000s, you could perhaps say, ‘let’s wait and see what might happen’; today we see that we haven’t found any technological solution for cement and other areas that ensures climate neutrality.” He continued: ” We are heading toward exceeding 1.5 degrees, which means that we are no longer in a luxury or comfort zone where we can somehow wait,” 

Habeck added. “We have to use what we have.”

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