Plans for Scotland's first power station that captures carbon revealed

·2 min read
Peterhead power station - Stuart Nicol
Peterhead power station - Stuart Nicol

Energy giants SSE and Equinor are planning to build the first power station in Scotland to use carbon capture technology.

The gas-fired power station at Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, could capture up to 1.5m tonnes of carbon dioxide from its emissions each year.

The development, which is still dependent on securing sufficient investment, is hoped to be ready by 2026.

SSE and Equinor are also developing two low-carbon power stations in North Lincolnshire, announced last month.

The Peterhead power station would achieve 15pc of the Government’s target to capture 10m tonnes of CO2 annually by 2030, according to major Scottish energy supplier SSE.

The technology will capture around 90pc of the site’s carbon emissions, which will be stored at the Acorn Project’s site, located about 100km offshore in rock formations deep below the North Sea. Shell is one of the companies involved in building the Acorn CO2 storage site.

Both the Acorn Project - run by a subsidiary of UK low-carbon tech firm Storegga Geotechnologies - and the power station were given funding by the Government in March as part of Scotland’s move towards net zero infrastructure.

A final decision about proceeding with the Peterhead project will depend on government subsidies for carbon capture and storage, as well as construction of the infrastructure needed to store carbon emissions deep under the North Sea.

It marks another step in Norwegian oil producer Equinor’s diversification into the green space, and investment into Scotland. The firm, which rebranded to distance itself from its oil legacy in 2018, has successfully diversified into offshore wind and is now a pioneer in floating wind farms.

SSE and Equinor are also working on a joint venture to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Dogger Bank, off the east coast of Yorkshire in the North Sea.

Stephen Wheeler, managing director of SSE Thermal, said: “Through cutting-edge carbon capture technology, we can decarbonise this vital flexible power generation, as well as heavy industry and other hard-to-reach-sectors of the economy, which will be crucial in Scotland transitioning to a net zero future.

“Ahead of the critical COP26 conference in Glasgow this year, there is a clear opportunity to demonstrate leadership on CCS, maximising the benefits of a green recovery in industrial regions, and ensuring a just transition for workers and communities.”

Energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: "Once up and running, CO2 emissions saved through this station alone will be the equivalent of taking 60 million cars off the road every year. Developing and applying this technology in Scotland will be a key element in the energy transition whilst creating a skills base and jobs on the ground that will endure and grow for decades to come.”