Scot-Govt must keep Shell’s Goldeneye carbon capture option open in new Scottish Energy Strategy

Shell's Goldeneye platformv
Shell’s Goldeneye platform

The new “whole system” Scottish Energy Strategy must include a clear ambition to achieve a “net zero carbon” economy before 2050, with a twin-track approach to reinvigorating the delivery of carbon removal technology, according to a briefing sent to the Scottish Government today. 

The briefing by Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage outlines a different path to developing carbon capture and storage in Scotland, a proven technology that can complement other low-carbon measures. 

Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS) is a research partnership comprising the British Geological Survey, and Heriot-Watt, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Strathclyde universities.

The government should promote near-term, small-scale CCS developments to maximise low-carbon actions, including utilisation opportunities.

In parallel, it should take immediate action to retain existing large-scale infrastructure, which can provide a cost-efficient solution for future large-scale industrial CCS applications. Specifically, it recommends that Scottish Government should:

  • Retain the National Transmission System No.10 Feeder onshore pipeline, and appropriate North Sea pipelines including the Goldeneye pipeline and borehole infrastructure and the Atlantic pipeline, avoiding their decommissioning and maintaining them in suitable condition to enable conversion for CO2 re-use
  • Assess opportunities for small-scale CO2 capture of emissions from biomass, biogas, fermentation, waste and small combined heat and power (CHP) energy processes to give a low-carbon impact multiplier, together with appropriately scaled options for transport and use or permanent storage;
  • Assess opportunities for pilot trials of low-carbon heating using hydrogen for conversion of district-scale gas networks, with hydrogen produced by steam methane reforming coupled with CCS;
  • Support investigation and development of seed projects for medium-scale CO2 storage opportunities.
  • Support actions leading towards development and commercialisation of larger-scale CO2 storage operations, including projects involving cooperation with other states around the North Sea.

The report says that, by starting small and capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) across the heat, power, transport and industry sectors, this can improve the effectiveness of overall efforts to tackle Scotland’s carbon emissions. Capture technology can be applied to different types of low-carbon energy systems, from biomass and biogas to district heating and combined heat and power (CHP).

Prof. Stuart Haszeldine
Prof. Stuart Haszeldine

Prof Stuart Haszeldine, Director, Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage, said: “Scotland can start capturing and storing CO2 now through actions at local and business scale while also taking immediate action on seed projects for national CO2 storage infrastructure.

“In contrast to the failed historical model for CCS deployment, a near-term alternative pathway of smaller-scale project investments can be conceived. This would align well with Scottish Government’s future energy system ambitions, complementing other low-carbon energy actions and integrating with a distributed energy resources system. This would be a “no regrets” pathway that would complement a parallel, phased development of larger-scale CCS systems

“Taking this twin-track approach can maintain Scotland’s international lead in affordable energy transition to a zero-carbon economy.”

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