Four UK plants, including Kingsnorth, will share in total pot of €1.25bn for European energy industry

The European Commission yesterday handed the energy industry a €1.25bn cheque towards developing carbon capture and storage (CCS) capability at 11 power plants across Europe.

Four of the plants are in Britain, including Kingsnorth in Kent, the plans for which are being targeted by anti-global warming activists. The other three are in Longannet in Fife, Tilbury in Essex and Hatfield in Yorkshire. They would net €250m from the EC.

The practice of CCS involves burying carbon emissions deep underground or under rocks at sea. The UK has been fingered as particularly suited to CCS because it is full of disused mine shafts supposedly ideal for the purpose.

While CCS remains controversial as it has not been tested on a large scale, many leaders see it as the only practical medium-term solution to controlling carbon emissions while maintaining energy security.

The sums are part of €5bn in unspent cash which the commission is using to boost infrastructure investment in the downturn.

The package included another €1.75bn to improve gas and energy links between EU countries, including between Ireland and Wales. There is also €500m for offshore wind projects, including €40m for a wind farm near Aberdeen. And €150m has been allocated to develop an offshore wind grid in the North Sea to link Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland and Denmark.