UK Government urged to end carbon capture scheme delays

First Minister calls for action to end uncertainty on Acorn Project.

First Minister Humza Yousaf has called on the UK Government to give the go-ahead for the Acorn carbon capture and storage (CCS) project to enable Scotland to ramp up its transition to clean energy.

On a visit to Peterhead Power Station, the First Minister said that the Scottish Government is wholly committed to supporting the Acorn Project, and urged the UK Government to set out its plans and end uncertainty for investors and stakeholders.

The project, based in Aberdeenshire, would take captured CO2 emissions from industrial processes across the country and store it safely under the North Sea. 

The First Minister added:

“Scotland’s net-zero future is being held back by UK Government dithering and delay. The Acorn scheme should be given approval now, so that we can take advantage of our unrivalled access to a vast CO2 storage potential and our opportunities to repurpose existing oil and gas infrastructure. CCS will play a pivotal role in achieving a just transition for our workforces, capitalising on existing world-leading skills and expertise to create many good, green jobs in the coming years.

“Despite the UK Government confirming in March that Acorn is ‘best-placed’ to meet the eligibility to be awarded Track-2 status, which would allow access to financial support from the UK Government, they continue to fail to provide a clear timetabled solution for the next stages of the process. This is entirely unacceptable and layers further uncertainty on top of never-ending delays which are impacting investor confidence and which compromise our climate-change commitments and just-transition ambitions.

“Acorn’s target of capturing and storing up to five million tonnes of CO2 annually by 2030 is critical to Scotland’s plans to achieve net zero by 2045, ahead of the rest of the UK. The scheme will also help the UK Government to deliver on its commitments.

“While the UK Government prevaricates, we have already established a £500 million Just Transition Fund for the North East to build on the region’s world-renowned expertise and ingenuity, to create jobs, foster innovation and support the region to deliver a fair and managed transition to net zero.”

Catherine Raw, Managing Director of SSE Thermal, who are part of the Scottish Cluster group of industrial companies backing the capture and permanent storage of CO2 emissions, said:

“To unlock the potential of Peterhead and the wider region, it is vital that the Scottish Cluster is brought forward urgently, allowing the development of decarbonisation projects to be accelerated and Scotland’s net-zero ambitions to be met. Doing so will not only help us meet our energy goals, it will also support industries and provide a fair and just transition for workers and communities across the North East of Scotland, including at Peterhead.

“SSE have set out plans to invest up to £40 billion in the next decade, including more than £21 billion in Scotland alone. Renewables will be at the heart of that investment but we also recognise the need for flexible generation to provide backup when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. Our existing Peterhead station fulfils that role today, playing a critical role in Scotland’s energy system.”


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