THE UK Government is being urged to keep a commitment – made in the run up to the independence referendum – to help launch a £1 billion green energy project which would create hundreds of jobs north of the Border. Ahead of the September 2014 vote, David Cameron signed an agreement in Aberdeen to support the delivery of a £1 billion carbon capture scheme in Peterhead. It was promised the initiative would bring 600 jobs, providing a major boost to the area’s economy. However, a year after the No vote, Chancellor George Osborne dramatically announced he was axing plans for £1bn grant for developing CCS technology. An outcry followed with industry figures hitting out at the decision. A Shell spokesman said at the time: “Shell is disappointed at the withdrawal of funding for the CCS Commercialisation Competition, in which our Peterhead CCS project was one of the final contenders. We have worked tirelessly over the last two years to progress our plans for this project. “It has the potential to bring huge value to the UK, both in terms of immediate emissions reductions and developing knowledge for the benefit of a wider industry.” Amid the uproar Tory ministers set up a taskforce to examine the issue again, with the body publishing its findings earlier this year. It identified Peterhead as having “key potential” for the project due to its links with the oil and gas industry. Last night Stewart Stevenson, the SNP MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, said despite the taskforce’s conclusion, no commitment had been made by the UK Government to advance the scheme in Peterhead. He also pointed out there had been no funding update for it presented in the Chancellor’s Budget. “The potential for Peterhead as the UK’s prime site for carbon capture and storage is in absolutely no doubt. The UK government’s own report identifies its ‘unique potential’,” he said. “But sadly, successive UK Governments have kicked CCS around like a political football. Last year Professor Stuart Haszeldine of Edinburgh University and a director of Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (SCCS), the UK’s biggest CCS research group, said technology was sufficiently advanced to launch the scheme. He explained scientific development would enable them to pump captured carbon dioxide (CO2) down existing pipelines from the St Fergus gas terminal in Aberdeenshire.
The National 10th Nov 2018 read more »