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Plans for Scotland’s first power station that captures carbon revealed–Subsidies demanded first!

May 13, 2021

By Paul Homewood



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.


Government subsidies!

This of course is the whole crux of the matter. There is no doubt that we have the technology to capture and store CO2, it is all a question of cost. And the 1.5m tonnes of carbon dioxide stored is tiny, compared to the UK’s total emissions of about 320 Mt.

Peterhead, along with Drax, were awarded £1bn of govt funding in 2012, to develop carbon capture. Both pulled out a few years later because of the difficulties involved. I very much doubt whether this new scheme will come cheap.

  1. May 13, 2021 5:34 pm

    An ideal project for the financial incompetents in the SNP to fund after independence!

  2. Ian Magness permalink
    May 13, 2021 5:40 pm

    Utter insanity.
    As with all these CCS projects, if there is a tangible economic return from the vast expenditure on the capture, pumping etc, then fine. Using CO2 for EOR in oil flelds, for instance can make sense in certain circumstances. By contrast, building, maintaining and running the infrastructure needed to pump a harmless gas 100km offshore (as in this case) just to bury it is so mind-numbingly stupid you really wonder how the grant-troughers keep a straight face when they make the proposals. It’s not just a case of government subsidies helping here, these ludicrous and uneconomic projects wouldn’t even be considered in the first place unless government/taxpayer subsidies were not expected.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      May 13, 2021 7:23 pm

      Ian, I think you may need to revisit the claim that CO2 is a harmless gas. In the atmosphere, I would agree with you: there is also the advantage that leaving it there doesn’t cost us. However, pumped into the ground in huge volumes (relatively) under high pressure could cause deadly problems. Lake Nyos springs to mind.(

  3. Broadlands permalink
    May 13, 2021 7:21 pm

    “The Peterhead power station would achieve 15pc of the Government’s target to capture 10m tonnes of CO2 annually by 2030…”

    A little arithmetic. 10 million tons of CO2 a year by 2030 would amount to ~200 million tons.
    Given that just one part-per-million of CO2 is 7,800 million tons, the net result would not move the climate needle or ‘control knob’ very far. A total waste of time and energy to remove even 15% of that minuscule amount and store it somewhere.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      May 13, 2021 7:27 pm

      Not forgetting (and I know you don’t, B) that a good proportion of the power generated would be needed to drive the CCS, leaving a more expensive product for use by end users Funny they don’t offer an idea of what their leccy will cost the consumer.

      • Graeme No.3 permalink
        May 13, 2021 10:52 pm

        Well that coal-fired plant up-grade in Canada used one third of the new capacity to “capture” the carbon dioxide, by pumping it under pressure into a partially depleted oil field (and increasing oil production).

        I think the proposed plant in NSW is slightly less silly. It will use 95% gas and 5% hydrogen therefore it is called Green. (They can’t use more than 5% hydrogen otherwise the rise in temperature will be too much for the turbine blades).
        And the gain? Generating that hydrogen will use nearly half of that 5% energy.

        Truly, those the Gods want to make mad ….

  4. Gamecock permalink
    May 13, 2021 8:18 pm

    Fugodsake, save something of value. Spending billions to save the cheap and common is about as stupid as it gets.

  5. Cheshire Red permalink
    May 13, 2021 8:51 pm

    Paul, can you put 1.5m tonnes in context to 320Mt?

    Then dare I ask how 1.5m compares globally? (I’m going to guess it won’t move the dial by a single tick)

    • Duker permalink
      May 13, 2021 11:12 pm

      Each car on average is 4.5 tonnes per year CO2.
      So its around 330,000 cars CO2 per year and Scotland has 3 mill of those.
      as for their existing power stations and their CO2 in tonnes ?

  6. Mewswithaview permalink
    May 13, 2021 9:33 pm

    CCS more like TCS (taxpayer capture system)

  7. May 13, 2021 9:51 pm

    They only need CCS to try and make gas look as expensive as wind and solar.

  8. prcgoard permalink
    May 14, 2021 8:01 am

    Why not just let “Nature” take care of the CO2? It will help to grow our food, the trees, etc., and the creatures in the sea. Half of all of the planet’s CO2 from burning fuels disappears, consumed by nature, so why use the coal- or gas-generated energy to bury it?

  9. europeanonion permalink
    May 14, 2021 12:57 pm

    How much carbon does the earth need to function? Who will control its extraction from the environment? When will the first ransom note for carbon be issued?

  10. Vernon E permalink
    May 14, 2021 2:22 pm

    There is still under-lying mis-understanding about CCS. From fuels combusted in air the resulting CO2 srtream is diluted by 80% nitrogen and absorption of the CO2 needs huge equipment, is inefficient and will inevitably lead to solvent pollution of the atmosphere. In the so-called “blue hydrogen” technology the CO2 stream is about half (by volume) of the product (hydrogen) stream and absorption is feasible. Indeed it happens on all ammonia or reformed gas installations. It is also the case when CO2 is actually the desired product, for example for secondary or tertiary oil recovery.

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