The Scottish Government has been urged to reject plans to build a new gas fired power station at Peterhead after Aberdeenshire Council missed the opportunity to trigger a public inquiry into the proposal.

Energy giant SSE wants to build an extra 910MW gas fired power station to run alongside the existing plant which is already Scotland’s most polluting site. The company was forced to admit that the new plant will increase emissions from the site which already belches out over 1 million tonnes of climate changing gas each year.

Members of the Aberdeenshire Council Infrastructure Committee today, failed to robustly interrogate developer’s claims around carbon capture or consider the climate implications of new fossil fuel power generation, and opted to support the planning application. If councillors had objected, it would have triggered a public inquiry enabling proper scrutiny of SSE’s climate trashing proposal.

Scottish Government Ministers are due to make the final decision on whether to approve the plan which would lock households into fossil fuelled energy for decades to come. The UN Secretary-General has described such investment in new fossil fuel infrastructure as “moral and economic madness.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland climate campaigner Alex Lee commented,

“SSE has admitted that the Peterhead fossil gas plant will worsen Scotland’s climate pollution so the Scottish Government must reject this project.

“If Ministers were to give new fossil fuel infrastructure like this the green light, it would only benefit greedy energy firms and those companies who want to keep households locked into costly oil and gas for decades to come.

“The whole scheme is built on the rotten foundations of carbon capture, which is a technology with a long, inglorious history of repeated failures. Experience shows us that carbon capture, if it is ever added, will not work at the rates promised by industry, and risks us falling even further behind our climate targets.

“When it comes to Peterhead power station, the Scottish Government has the power and responsibility to stop this climate damaging project once and for all. The future of the north east of Scotland must be built on clean, affordable renewable energy and the decent green jobs that can come with it, putting the needs of workers and communities at the very heart of transition planning.”


Aberdeenshire Council Infrastructure Services Committee met on Thursday 15 June 2023

In February 2022 SSE and Equinor submitted a planning application to build a new gas fired power station in addition to the existing plant at Peterhead, Aberdeenshire. The admission of an increase in pollution was made in planning documents from SSE responding to environmental regulator SEPA’s questioning of the proposals.

SSE conceded that “should both of the plants operate simultaneously this will result in an emissions increase from approx. 1.29MTCO2e to 1.54MTCO2e. This would represent 10.7% of the Scottish Carbon Budget in 2034”

A 2022 report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis looked at 13 carbon capture projects – over half of total global capacity – and found CCS was “wildly unrealistic as a climate solution” and found that “using carbon capture as a greenlight to extend the life of fossil fuel power plants is a significant financial and technical risk.”

A 2021 report from experts at the Tyndall Centre of Climate Research found that CCS technology is not a viable option for the rapid emissions cuts required in energy over the crucial years to 2030.

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.