A legal framework for the safe geological storage of carbon dioxide
The directive on the geological storage of CO2 (so-called "CCS Directive") establishes a legal framework for the environmentally safe geological storage of CO2 to contribute to the fight against climate change. It covers all CO2 storage in geological formations in the EU, and lays down requirements covering the entire lifetime of a storage site. Existing legal frameworks are used to regulate the capture and transport components of CCS.
Ensuring there is no significant risk of leakage or damage to health or the environment
The CCS Directive lays down extensive requirements for the site selection, which is a crucial stage for ensuring the integrity of a project. A site can only be selected for use if a prior analysis shows that, under the proposed conditions of use, there is no significant risk of leakage or damage to human health or the environment.
No geological storage of CO2 will be possible without a storage permit.
Preventing any adverse effects on the security of the transport network or storage site
The CO2 stream must consist overwhelmingly of CO2 to prevent any adverse effects on the security of the transport network or the storage site. The operation of the site must be closely monitored and corrective measures taken in the case that leakage does occur.
In addition, the Directive contains provisions on closure and post-closure obligations, and sets out criteria for the transfer of responsibility from the operator to the Member State.
Finally, a financial security needs to be established before injection commences to ensure that requirements pursuant to the CCS Directive and the Emissions Trading Directive can be met.
Relying on existing legal frameworks and removing barriers
With regard to liability for any leakage, inclusion in the Emissions Trading System ensures that allowances would have to be surrendered for any emissions resulting from leakage. Liability for local damage to the environment is dealt with by using the existing Directive on Environmental Liability. Liability for damage to health and property is left for regulation at Member State level.
Furthermore, barriers to CCS in existing waste and water legislation are removed. Also, an amendment is made to the Large Combustion Plants Directive to require an assessment of capture-readiness for large plants.
The revised ETS Directive includes CCS explicitly in Annex I, and emissions captured, transported and stored according to this Directive will be considered as not emitted.
Supporting coherent implementation of the CCS Directive
The European Commission has also issued four guidance documents to support coherent implementation of Directive 2009/31/EC on the geological storage of carbon dioxide ("CCS Directive") across EU Member States.