Page last updated at 16:07 GMT, Thursday, 19 November 2009

Carbon capture site gets EU cash

Carbon produced at Hatfield would be stored under the North Sea

The European Union is to give its stamp of approval to plans for Britain's first coal-fired power station equipped with carbon capture (CCS) technology.

The plant in Hatfield, near Doncaster, will be granted about £180m of EU cash on Saturday, the BBC has learned.

CCS technology captures the carbon released when coal burns and pipes it under the North Sea where it is stored for thousands of years.

It is thought 1,500 jobs will be created by the plant's construction.

Work is expected to begin in 2010, for completion in 2015.

The scheme was backed by the European Commission last month.

There are still massive coal deposits under our region, and carbon capture technology opens up the prospect of utilising our own natural energy supplies, and not being reliant on foreign gas
Paul Hudson
BBC Climate Correspondant

Tom Riordan, from Yorkshire Forward, told BBC News: "The biggest criticism I've heard of this project is that it's too good to be true.

"It solves so many things... it gives us jobs in the region, it gives us world leadership in something that everybody across the world is absolutely seeing as a priority."

However some climate protesters doubt the effectiveness of CCS.

Tom Jackson, of the Camp for Climate Change, said: "As it stands at the moment CCS doesn't actually really exist, as we have proven.

"It is largely science-fiction and most industry experts do say that it's going to be at least 2020 before this is actually commercially viable which really is too late."

Last month a spokesperson for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "The UK is in a strong position on CCS and we expect to be one of the first countries in the world to demonstrate this technology."

BBC Look North's Alan Whitehouse describes how the plant will work

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