Following the announcement that the UK Government will scrap its £1 billion commercialisation programme for developing carbon capture, the SNP have described the decision as an “enormous disappointment”.
Stewart Stevenson, MSP – whose Banffshire and Buchan Coast constituency includes Peterhead – also raised the ‘disgraceful’ decision to axe the Peterhead project at First Minister’s Questions today in the Scottish Parliament.
In reply, Nicola Sturgeon said: “I think it’s a shocking example of how the Conservative UK Government is treating businesses.
“Here we have two FTSE 100 companies <Shell and SSE> entering a £1 billion capital funding competition in good faith, committing resources, time and money towards a bid that was due at the end of this year only to be told at the very last minute that the money is no longer available.
“The Scottish Government was not consulted on this before this decision was announced and – as everybody will now have realised – the Chancellor actually neglected to mention this in his autumn statement and we were only told afterwards.”
Meanwhile, Callum McCaig, MP for Aberdeen South and the party’s Energy spokesman in the Westminster parliament, said:
“It is extremely disappointing that the UK Government has scrapped vital support for this innovative project which has the potential to be world-leading when it comes to removing carbon emissions from our energy supplies.
“UK energy strategy is now so reliant on gas-fired generation it is inexplicable that the Tories have now backtracked and decided to withdraw their support for the construction of the world’s first full-scale gas carbon capture and storage project proposed for Peterhead Power station.
“The Tories have dealt another blow to Scottish electricity generation and reneged on a manifesto commitment. George Osborne’s obsession with austerity will only succeed in stifling job creation and investment in this burgeoning sector.”
Stevenson added: “It is deeply concerning that the UK Government backtracked on this crucial investment at the eleventh hour, especially given the upcoming Paris climate talks.
“The UK Government’s yo-yoing over whether or not to support this world-leading carbon capture project shows complete disregard for Scotland’s energy sector and will be an enormous disappointment for Peterhead’s local economy.
“The Tories have missed a huge opportunity to champion new technologies that will cut emissions in Scotland and across the UK – and all because they are blinkered by their obsession with austerity.”
“This UK Government’s track record on Scotland’s energy industry is nothing short of appalling. On Longannet, North Sea exploration, support for onshore wind, delays to offshore wind, George Osborne has taken decisions which are directly contradictory to the Scottish national interest.
“And this is just the latest decision which demonstrates how little the Tories care about Scotland’s energy sector. “
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Banchory-based consultancy, Pale Blue Dot Energy, commented: “The Treasury statement confirmed that the £1 billion capital subsidy for carbon-capture is no longer available.
“In the past, there have been serious large scale CCS projects proposed in the UK that have been confident enough to make offers to UK Government to build new plant without a capital subsidy, as long as a viable CfD was in place. It is our understanding that the Contract for Difference, which Pale Blue Dot Energy estimates to be worth significantly more to the project sponsors than the capital subsidy, still remains.
“The CCS story so far in the UK is a clear example of a market failure. Whilst a practical solution currently seems a million miles away, CCS is just as important in the fight against climate change today as it was yesterday.”