Anger at approval for ‘CCS ready’ gas-fired power station

Scottish ministers have given approval for a gas powered station despite campaigner's anger over the plans reliance on commercially unavailable carbon capturing technology.

The new 1,000MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) station at Cockenzie in East Lothian will, says Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing, create up to 1,000 jobs in demolition and construction and 50 full time positions when completed.

The idea for the power station was originally put forward in December 2009 by ScottishPower Generation.

Local authority East Lothian Council initially opposed the scheme but withdrew its concerns a year later and a public inquiry was held in February this year, the results of which are published today (October 5).

An existing coal-fired power station on the site is due to end operations in December 2015 promting the need to switch to alternative power, but the news the replacement station will only be ‘carbon capture ready’, has been greeted with disappointment.

WWF Scotland’s head of policy, Dr Dan Barlow said: “By not requiring any carbon capture from the start this decision risks locking Scotland into decades of unabated climate pollution and jeopardises the Government’s firm commitment to decarbonise energy supply by 2030.

“If this poor decision is later followed by the approval of a new coal-fired power station at Hunterston then Scotland can kiss goodbye to any credibility it currently has globally as a leader in tackling climate change.”

Mr Ewing defended the plans saying Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) will be installed but only when it is ‘commercially and technically proven’.

He said: “Alongside the vast increase in renewable energy we are working towards, Scotland will still need conventional, clean fossil fuel power to provide a steady supply of electricity.

“This could be met by new build plant, upgrades to existing plants or a combination of both.

“The development is also designed to utilise the heat produced during the electricity generating process, which could help Scotland further decarbonise its heating sector.”

Luke Walsh

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