Professor Stuart Haszeldine; Renewable, and therefore low-carbon, energy in Scotland successfully supplies much electricity but this is just one quarte r of our energy needs. There are also carbon emissions resulting from heating for homes and businesses, and the carbon footprint of industries and transport (by road, rail, air and shipping). How do we meet these multiple climate targets? The answer could lie in the findings of a crucial study for the UK Government, published last week by Aberdeen-based consultants Pale Blue Dot. Shared with stakeholders in April but kept under wraps until after the Scottish election, the study shows how the UK’s offshore assets can set us on the right trajectory. Part of the findings from the highly technical report boil down to this: carbon dioxide (CO2) may be Scotland’s biggest unplayed natural resource card. The North Sea’s vast wealth in oil and gas production must, in future, be balanced by an equal or greater amount of CO2 being put back in the ground. Offshore depleted oil and gas fields and, especially, the larger CO2 storage volume offered by rocks containing unusable sa lty water (aquifers) offer a vast and useful asset. Crucially, the Pale Blue Dot report shows this asset can be unlocked to deliver climate action without breaking the bank. Thanks to devolution, management of these geological resources will be transferred to the Crown Estate Scotland and operated by the Scottish Government. This resource equates to 35 per cent of Europe’s CO2 storage potential, which can permanently store more than 100 years of emissions from the UK’s industry, power generation, heating and transport sectors.
Herald 16th May 2016 read more »