Scottish minister demands UK backing for CCS

Scotland is the 'leading' place in the world to develop Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) according to a new report published today (March 14).

The report was produced by the Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (SCCS), who also announced £2million in funding for future projects.

The controversial technology which aims to deliver ‘clean’ coal power was a major part of the former Labour government’s plans for the UK’s energy and is still close to minister’s hearts in the new government.

As a result of the research backing Scotland’s CCS claims its energy minister, Jim Mather, called on the UK’s Government to back the country’s work on CCS.

The minister hopes backing will secure long-term funding for an on-going trial by ScottishPower to trap emissions from its Longannet power station.

That trial, began in 2009, was the first time in the UK that CCS from a working coal-fired power plant had been carried out.

A key element highlighted in the report is the vast storage potential of rocks beneath the Moray Firth, which could store up to a century’s worth of carbon from Scotland’s power plants.

He said: “Today’s research cements Scotland’s position as the number one location for CCS technology development and deployment in the world.

“We now need the UK Government to recognise the Scottish potential and award a CCS demonstrator project to Longannet, the outstanding contender left in the UK competition.

“CCS can create thousands of new low carbon jobs in Scotland and we must move quickly to seize the full economic and environmental opportunities.”

However, Green MSP Patrick Harvie attacked the plans, he said: “Carbon capture and storage remains an unproven technology, yet to be demonstrated anywhere in the world, and research published last year suggests it ‘cannot be made feasible at any cost’.

“With such question marks over the whole idea, SNP Ministers should not be predicting job numbers drawn up on the back of a fag packet.

“Scotland’s renewable potential can meet our power needs almost six times over, and if we had a Government prepared to commit to that task, we could already be exporting the surplus to our neighbours.

“Large-scale carbon capture, even if it eventually works, risks becoming a poor excuse to keep dirty power plants running longer.

“By all means let’s continue the research to see if some of the pollution from existing plants can be captured, but above all we must not allow the prospect of CCS be used to justify new coal power stations, as the SNP Government has tried to do.”

Luke Walsh

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