The UK government has announced a regulatory framework to support the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects in the country, in a move that was long awaited by operators with projects in the works.

The dispatchable power agreement (DPA), published on Tuesday, sets out the official business model and contract structures that will shape the nascent CCS sector in the country.

The framework sets out parameters on carbon dioxide capture rates and testing requirements — what the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy described as “solid policy framework” for operators and investors.

The DPA is based on the contractual structure of the contracts for difference that was originally put in place to support the renewable-energy sector, and expands on the requirements for CCS projects.

“Businesses need to know that the UK is the best place for carbon capture investment… we are giving one of our biggest signals to date and showing that the UK’s CCUS [carbon capture, utilisation and storage] industry is open for business,” Climate and Energy Minister Graham Stuart said.

Stuart added that the CCUS framework will provide the industry with “the clarity required to deploy CCUS at scale” and “move into the next phase” of development.

Sources in the industry had previously voiced their concerns over the confusion reigning in UK politics, following the resignation of former prime minister Boris Johnson and the collapse of successor Liz Truss’ government, and its potential consequences for CCS.

The UK government has been in the process of shortlisting a group of projects that will be granted public support, as it targets the set-up of two CCS clusters by 2025 and two more by 2030.

HyNet cluster in North West England and North Wales, and the East Coast Cluster in the Teesside and Humber areas are the two hubs that are due for development by the 2025 deadline.

Five oil and gas and several low-carbon energy schemes are among almost 140 new infrastructure projects the UK government has earmarked to be accelerated as it seeks to reform and streamline planning and approvals processes.

The Eni-led Hynet North West and BP-led East Coast Cluster industrial CCS schemes, related hydrogen schemes and several offshore wind projects and two nuclear energy schemes were also included.

Announcing the list in September, the UK government described the existing planning system as “too slow and too fragmented”, showing that the time span for granting development consent orders, known as DCOs, increased by 65% between 2012 and 2021.