Pressure is growing on the Scottish Government to reject plans for new fossil fuel power station at Peterhead. 
Dozens of groups today wrote to Ministers highlighting how a new plant that would burn gas to generate electricity would only maintain the current energy system which is dominated by exploitative fossil fuel companies who are getting rich off ordinary people’s hardship. 

Fuel poverty, grassroots climate groups, environmental and marine protection organisations are amongst those 44 groups who have raised concerns about the dangerous plan by energy giants SSE and Equinor.  

Extra profits for big polluters

The proposal would lock Scottish households into paying energy prices which are set by international gas markets and are prone to external shocks such as the war in Ukraine. 

The Scottish Government is under huge pressure to increase climate action after recently announcing it would scrap its climate targets, but this development would lock in higher fossil fuel emissions for decades to come. The existing gas power plant in Peterhead has been Scotland’s single biggest polluter for the past 5 years. 

Climate campaigners have protested outside Equinor and SSE offices in recent weeks about the companies’ fossil fuel expansion plans.  SSE operate 14 fossil fuel power stations while Equinor are the UK’s largest supplier of gas.  

These companies want to expand their hugely profitable gas power operations, whilst pledging to add carbon capture technology to the station. The reality is that carbon capture tech does not work both these companies are using it as a cover to keep their climate damaging businesses on the road, whatever the cost to people or the planet.  

Fuel poverty groups object to new gas

Lucia Harrington from Fuel Poverty Action criticised the plans saying “Expanding the fossil fuel industry will do nothing to help people with energy bills, but instead lock households into relying on expensive gas for decades.”

She highlighted the huge profits made by SSE whilst around 1000 people in Scotland alone died due to cold homes during the winter of 2022-2023.  

The signatories also warn Ministers about reliance on carbon capture saying workers “should not be strung along with empty promises of jobs in fairytale carbon capture” and pointing out of the environmental and ethical risks of trying to store carbon under the North Sea in perpetuity. 

man holding two signs
Protest against Carbon Capture in Torquay, Australia. Matt Hrkac from Geelong / Melbourne, Australia, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Environmental risks from carbon capture

Naomi Tilley from the conservation group Oceana signed the letter citing the risk to marine life from the proposals explaining how “fossil fuel developments and carbon capture projects degrade and destroy extraordinarily rare and diverse habitats – such as rich kelp forests and ancient corals – that are critical to the health of Scottish seas.”  

She said it was “downright stupidity to prioritise untested and risky carbon-capture technology over protecting our ocean or slashing emissions.” Thriving oceans can help fight climate breakdown as well as providing food, livelihoods and safeguarding coastal communities. 

Stop Peterhead banner at the Edinburgh March to End Fossil Fuels

Perpetuating global climate injustice

Scotland’s International Development Alliance warned that as a rich nation that bears responsibility for creating the climate crisis, that this global injustice will continue to grow until Scotland cuts emissions.  

SIDA called on John Swinney and his team to consider the global impact of its domestic decision-making and how a new gas burning power station will put climate-vulnerable countries into even greater danger. 

Sam Bartlet, speaking for Parents for Future Scotland, likened building more fossil fuel power stations to “chucking petrol on a burning house”. He called on the Scottish Government to instead rise to the challenge, and deliver plans that will expand renewables, deliver warm homes and good quality green jobs. He said that anything else would be a betrayal of our children, and children everywhere. 

Organisations from across Scottish society are calling on Ministers to reject this disastrous development which will only further enrich greedy energy companies at a huge cost to Scottish households and the climate. New fossil fuel burning will critically undermine the energy transition and make it even harder for the Scottish Government to meet its climate commitments.   

Instead of building an energy system on the rotten foundations of carbon capture, we should be ploughing our time and resources into expanding a renewable energy system that is affordable, reliable and run in the public interest. 

You can also sign the petition to the Scottish Government urging them to reject the Peterhead propsals

If you are interested in getting involved in campaigning against the new power station in Peterhead, come along to our online interactive workshop on Thursday 13th June.

We’ll discuss what is being planned in Peterhead, the role of Carbon Capture and Storage in the development, and how we can organise across the climate movement to resist this key piece of fossil fuel infrastructure in Scotland.