More than $206 million was wasted on a failed green subsidy scheme, according to a new report by the British National Audit Office (NAO).
Britain spent $206 million on an ultimately unsuccessful competition to develop Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from power plants, then store it underground.
NAO’s report found the U.K.’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy spent an initial $84 million on CCS, but then pumped another $123 million into a second competition after the first failed.
“The Department has now tried twice to kick start CCS in the UK, but there are still no examples of the technology working,” Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, told The Construction Index. “There are undoubtedly challenges in getting CCS established, but the Department faced an uphill battle as a result of the way it ran the latest competition.”
Ultimately, the British treasury canceled the program due to its rising costs. NAO found the government started the CCS competition without an agreement on the cost. This ultimately led to the Treasury withdrawing $1.21 billion in pledged financial support for the project, triggering its cancellation.
“Not being clear with HM Treasury about what the budget is from the start would hamper any project, and caused particular problems in this case where the upfront costs are likely to be high,” Morse said.”The Department must learn lessons from this experience if it is to stand any chance of ensuring the first CCS plants are built in the near future.”
The U.K. has already been struck by two other major green energy scandals this month.
A heavily-subsidized anaerobic digester power plant discharged toxic waste into an eight-mile stretch of river, killing thousands of fish earlier in January. The individual plant has been responsible for 12 other “serious pollution incidents” since 2015, according to locals who spoke to The Daily Mail.
One day later, a botched green energy subsidy scheme called the Renewable Heat Incentive brought down Northern Ireland’s governing coalition. The program cost U.K. taxpayers more than $1.4 billion, despite initially projected to cost $40 million.
A whistleblower claimed program recipients manipulated it to receive about $200 dollars in subsidies for every $120 they spent on green fuel, according to The Times. A report by Northern Ireland’s auditor-general acknowledged that some individuals may have reaped about $1.1 million in profits though the scheme.
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