Environmental campaigners are calling on the Scottish Government to reject plans for a huge new fossil fuelled power plant at Peterhead. 

Energy giant SSE have submitted a planning application to Aberdeenshire Council to build a new and additional 910MW station that will burn gas to generate electricity next to the existing 1180MW plant. The plans come despite the clear and pressing need to urgently cut the use of fossil fuels, as recommended by climate scientists and energy experts. 

The application put forward by SSE is for a “carbon capture and storage (CCS) ready” gas plant, which would see the technology which attempts to capture some of the pollution created, developed separately by a different operator. The application anticipates reduced capacity at the existing Peterhead power station, but does not rule out both plants operating at full capacity. 

Friends of the Earth Scotland has written to the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit to formally object to the proposals, highlighting that CCS technology is in its infancy in Europe and has repeatedly failed to get off the ground in the UK. 

Following COP26 Ministers changed their position of support for unlimited recovery of fossil fuels on the basis that it is not consistent with climate obligations, and the First Minister voiced her opposition to the Cambo oil field.

The Scottish Government also recently conceded that they did not expect ‘negative emissions technologies’ such as CCS to be developed in the 2020s. Unlike offshore oil and gas extraction, the decision over whether or not to approve the Peterhead gas power plant lies with Ministers.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Climate Campaigner Alex Lee said

“If the Scottish Government were to approve a new gas fired power station at Peterhead that would lock in continued use of fossil fuels for our energy for decades to come. On the face of it, this application is for a huge new gas-power station at Peterhead in addition to the existing one, and risks increasing emissions from the site. Scotland should be moving rapidly to phase out oil and gas for energy production instead of building new gas-fired power stations.

“Like the defeated Hunterston coal-power station before it, this development relies on carbon capture and storage technology coming online at some unspecified point in the future. Carbon capture and storage has a long history of repeated failure and even the Scottish Government has admitted that this technology will not happen this decade. But the whole Peterhead project is to be built on the rotten foundations of this unreliable techno-fix. 

“As a rich nation with high historical emissions, Scotland should be rapidly and fairly transitioning away from exploiting volatile oil and gas to instead power our lives with safe, reliable renewables. The Scottish Government has signalled a shift in its position on unlimited fossil fuel extraction. 

“With full power to determine whether the new Peterhead gas plant should go ahead or not, it’s time for the Scottish Government to show real climate leadership by rejecting it, and committing to the decisions that need to be made for a just and rapid transition away from fossil fuels.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

Friends of the Earth Scotland objection to the Scottish Government Energy Consents Unit https://foe.scot/resource/objection-peterhead

SSE application as advertised in the Edinburgh Gazette https://www.thegazette.co.uk/notice/4028278

Hunterston power station plans withdrawn by Ayrshire Power , june 2012
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-18602532

Scottish Government’s climate plan in jeopardy as officials admit flaw due to over reliance on ‘negative emissions technology’ – Sun 26 June 2022
https://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/20236264.gaping-hole-snp-governments-climate-plan-jeopardy-officials-admit-flaw/

Tyndall Centre report reveals that Carbon Capture and Storage technology cannot meet the urgent need to reduce climate emissions from the energy sector (Jan 2021)
https://foe.scot/press-release/carbon-capture-storage-cant-solve-the-climate-crisis-says-new-report/

Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 73 national member groups, and 5,000 local activist groups