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Unveiled: Scotland's carbon capture plans to challenge climate change - 11 Mar 2010  

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THE Scottish Government has unveiled a vision for Scotland to lead the way globally in key technology to capture carbon dioxide from power stations and store it underground.

A "road map" for the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) has been drawn up.

It reveals that between 2015 and 2020 the Scottish Government is aiming to have two power stations furnished with CCS technology up and running.

And the report reveals Holyrood is aiming for Scotland to have a quarter of Europe's CCS plants by 2020.

The technology is considered crucial in the fight to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

It would enable power stations – currently among the world's biggest polluters – to continue operating without putting government climate change targets at risk.

The technology captures emitted from the power station. It is then sent through pipes and held underground, such as in disused gas fields under the North Sea.

However, the technology has not yet been shown to work on a commercial scale anywhere in the world.

If Scotland can develop CCS first, political leaders believe that the country could export its expertise across the world, with huge benefits to the economy. The new road map, published yesterday, was produced by the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise.

Energy minister Jim Mather said: "Scotland has all the attributes to become a world leader in carbon capture.

"The North Sea alone has enough capacity to store emissions from industrial coal-fired plants for the next 200 years – a capacity greater than Netherlands, Denmark and Germany combined."

And he added that Scotland's skills in the oil and gas industries could be transferred.

"As a hugely important technology in the fight against climate change, CCS offers Scotland a fantastic platform for low-carbon economic growth," he said.

"We now want to see a number of CCS demonstration projects developed in Scotland."

ScottishPower has ambitious plans to fit out Longannet Power Station in Fife with CCS technology.

It is competing with Eon for about £1 billion of funding from the UK government for the scheme. Eon is hoping to win the money for a CCS project at Kingsnorth in Kent.

The Scottish Government also yesterday published guidance on how ministers will decide whether to grant consent to a new power station.

It confirms that any new coal-fired power station would need to demonstrate CCS on at least 300 megawatts of its capacity from the start.

This has been criticised by environmental groups as too low. Friends of the Earth Scotland argues that only new power stations entirely fitted out with CCS from the start should be allowed.

Scottish Labour energy spokesman Lewis Macdonald argued Scotland's opportunity to lead the world on carbon capture depends entirely on continuing to belong to the United Kingdom and the single British market for electricity generation.

"Nothing will happen in Scotland on carbon capture and storage without full support from the UK government, simply because carbon capture and carbon storage are extremely expensive new technologies."

He added: "Without British government support, the cost of taking forward CCS would have to be spread across only 5 million consumers, instead of over 50 million. Quite simply, nothing would happen."


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Source: The Scotsman