Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf voiced support for the Scottish Cluster industrial decarbonisation project at a visit to SSE Thermal’s Peterhead Power Station this week.
The Scottish Cluster is a project to decarbonise heavy industry and will “deliver CCS, hydrogen and other low carbon technologies, supporting Scotland, the UK and Europe to meet net zero goals,“ according to the project’s website.
Yousaf met apprentices and graduates at the power station, as SSE Thermal sets out plans to decarbonise its Peterhead site through a carbon capture plant which would replace the existing station – a project which is a key part of the Scottish Cluster.
The Scottish Cluster is one of four industrial clusters which the government wants to decarbonise by 2030 using carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. The first two clusters are currently progressing in the North of England, with the next two still to be formally selected. In March, the UK Government said the Scottish Cluster was ‘best placed’ to meet the eligibility criteria.
Central to the Scottish Cluster is the Acorn project; transport and storage infrastructure which other projects would connect into. Yusuf called for the Scottish Cluster to be given the go-ahead so that this infrastructure can start to be developed.
Fantastic to welcome @HumzaYousaf to Peterhead this week to see first hand the vital role the site plays in Scotland’s electricity system and to meet with some of our brilliant #graduates and #apprentices. https://t.co/auhNt6g5k7— SSE Thermal (@ssethermal) July 19, 2023
The First Minister said: “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.
“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.”
SSE Thermal and Equnor’s Peterhead power station could become Scotland’s first flexible power stations equipped with CCS technology. The proposed new power station would connect into the Scottish Cluster’s transport and storage infrastructure.
Catherine Raw, managing director of SSE Thermal, 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 has 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,” Raw added.