In February 2022, energy giant SSE and the fossil fuel company Equinor submitted a planning application to the Scottish Government to build a new and additional gas-fired plant next to the existing gas-fired plant at Peterhead power station in Aberdeenshire.

Not content with trying to open the controversial Rosebank oil field, Norwegian oil giant Equinor are now trying to push ahead with another new project that could continue to pollute for the next three decades. We have been following the planning process and intervening at the relevant stages to urge decision makers to properly scrutinise this development and stop the new plant from being built.

What are the Peterhead expansion proposals?

To start with some background, SSE’s Peterhead power station started operating in 1980. It’s Scotland’s largest gas fired power plant and has been Scotland’s single biggest climate polluter every year since 2018.

Peterhead power station
Peterhead power station

Despite SSE’s claims that they are trying to cut their climate emissions, the pollution levels actually increased in 2022. SEPA has also found that there has been an increase in the super polluting climate gas methane from the station which is thought to be 25 times more damaging than carbon dioxide.

If the proposed additional plant is built, it will produce 910MW of electricity alongside the existing 1180 MW plant. Whilst the proposal expects reduced capacity at the existing Peterhead power station, worryingly it does not rule out both plants operating at full capacity.

This creates a risk that climate wrecking emissions will significantly increase if both plants run simultaneously. SSE have admitted in planning documents that this could cause major impacts on Scotland’s carbon budget.

Carbon capture claims

The developers claim that they will add carbon capture technology to the plant at an undefined later date, but this technology has a long and troubled history, consistently failing to meet projected carbon capture targets. We are also increasingly seeing oil and gas companies use this technology to try and greenwash their plans to largely continue their polluting business as usual.

Stop Peterhead banner Edinburgh March to End Fossil Fuels. Credit: Richard Dixon

The consultation process on the Peterhead project – where local councillors and relevant regulatory bodies like Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) review the plan – is now closed. We expect the project will now be examined by the Scottish Government who have the final decision on whether this dangerous project goes ahead.

Stopping new gas at Peterhead

Tackling climate breakdown means stopping burning fossil fuels. If the Scottish Government approve this dangerous plan, it will lock us in to continued use of volatile fossil fuels for decades to come and keep us using expensive fossil fuels that are wrecking the climate. For cheaper energy bills and a safe climate, we need to stop expanding oil and gas production full stop.

We are campaigning for the Scottish Government to reject this project and instead pushing for a just transition and an alternative future for our energy system that benefits workers, communities and the planet.

We’re urging people to sign this petition to Scottish Government ministers opposing new gas in Peterhead