Plans for other CCS projects in Scotland must be urgently accelerated
The future development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology in the UK has been left up in the air today following the announcement that the UK Government and ScottishPower have failed to agree terms for a large-scale trial at the Longannet coal-fired power station, in Fife. Longannet was in line for a £1bn grant as the only finalist left a UK government CCS competition which has been running since 2007.
Dr Richard Dixon, Director of WWF Scotland said:
“This news is massively disappointing and threatens Scotland’s, and the rest of the UK’s, ambition to be at the forefront of developing this new technology. If technical and economic hurdles can be overcome CCS has the potential to help reduce emissions at thousands of coal power stations around the world. However, almost four years after launching its funding competition, plans for CCS in the UK have descended into farce. Four years have effectively been wasted in the battle to tackle climate change.
“The UK Government’s decisions to roll forward the £1bn competition fund to fund other CCS projects is welcome but the process for identifying these must be urgently accelerated. Lots of valuable research and planning has been done around the Longannet proposal, which could put Scotland in pole postion to have a CCS scheme at the existing gas-fired power station at Peterhead or the recently consented gas-fired power station at Cockenzie.
The environmental group said today’s announcement had big ramifications for plans to build new coal-fired power stations. Dr Dixon added:
“Even a £1bn sweetener was not enough to make the economics of running a coal-fired power station in the coming decades stack up. This must surely be the final nail in the coffin for the proposal at Hunterston which has never made economic or environmental sense.”
A report by WWF previously found Longannet power station to the best value option for UK Government trials to capture carbon emissions.  The environmental group warned that some of the other sites being considered would result in vastly higher carbon emissions, actually increasing emissions instead of reducing them.