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Will carbon capture and storage have the future in Lithuania?

Environmental minister Kestutis Mazeika

By Angele Kedaitiene. Lithuanian parliament has postponed on Tuesday (9 of July) the vote for amendments of the law, which would ban the storage of captured carbon dioxide in the land. The vote foreseen in autumn session.

The Committee on Environment Protection is proposing banning the storage of such gas in natural land cavities. The alternate proposal is passed by Virgilijus Poderys, Chairman of the parliamentary Commission for Energy and Sustainable Development. He suggests a more liberal carbon dioxide burial order and proposes banning the use of underground to store carbon dioxide, including that imported from abroad, in depth of less than 1 km.

The Environment Ministry of Lithuanian has warned that it would be impossible to extract carbon dioxide once it’s buried. Furthermore, Lithuanian Geological Survey has warned buried carbon dioxide might pollute the waters and other layers of the land and then get out into the atmosphere through cracks. The Energy Ministry of Lithuania says there is no point in extracting carbon dioxide as it will turn to rock and minerals in several years spent underground. Environment Minister Kestutis Mazeika suggests considering using such gas in agriculture. He said that risks of carbon dioxide storage in the land reserves are not yet well researched. According to him, its commercial project, but the state will be charged with the event monitoring and in case of water pollution, etc., it should be dealt with, what will cost the money. Minister Mazeika thinks that its big risk, and that emissions of carbon dioxide could be reduced differently, while introducing pollution taxes, renewables, new technologies.

Carbon dioxide storage law is necessary for development of the carbon capture and storage technologies (CCS) and corresponding facilities, recently promoted by the European Commission. Dominique Ristori, the Director General of DG Energy of the European Commission, who recently has visited Lithuania to receive award of the Order of Merits, the last one from the hands of President Grybauskaite. According to him, decarbonisation means the new technologies, which would reduce the emissions but at the same time would increase efficiency of steal and chemical production. The new Multiannual financial framework of 2021- 2027 will give the green light for strengthening of the industry and technology development.

Lithuanian parliament will make further consultations as well as wait for the visit of USA Energy Secretary Mr. Ricco Perry foreseen in autumn. USA companies „8 Rivers Capital“ and „Net Power“ have signed the memorandum with the Government of Lithuania for building of the gas power station.

Zygimantas Pavilionis, conservative member of Lithuanian parliament, of Homeland Union, thinks that in this regard, not just opinion of the Minister for Environment matters, but also the strategic interests of the country, and of its investors. He proposes by autumn to issue the joint opinion of both ministries, of Environment but also of the Energy, to make the scientific impact assessment, the costs and benefits analysis, and wait for the results of the visit of USA Energy Secretary Mr. Ricco Perry.

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