SANC slams CCS ‘smokescreen’

On 29 May, we awoke to the news that Longannet was to become the first coal-fired power plant in the UK to capture CO2 emissions – a demonstration of their CCS system was carried out later that day. Our press release is below.

Scotland Against New Coal (SANC) is deeply concerned about Scottish Power’s much-trumpeted small scale trial of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology at Longannet power station in Fife. The campaign group, which consists of volunteers from across the country, was established to meet the growing threat of new coal-fired power stations in Scotland.

SANC spokesman Dave O’Carroll challenged Scottish Power to reveal the full extent of its plans: “What Scottish Power won’t tell everyone is that they currently have no intention of applying CCS across all of Longannet’s four boilers. Three quarters of the plant will still be burning coal unabated when the need to dramatically reduce our carbon emissions is almost universally accepted.”

“Coal is the dirtiest fuel and if this company was serious about reducing emissions it would either commit to 100% CCS from day one or ditch plans to extend the commission of Longannet and invest in clean energy sources instead,” Dave continued. “This move is just a smokescreen for plans to lock us into a fossil-fuel future.”

Both Scottish Power chief executive Nick Horler and First Minister Alex Salmond have championed the possible economic and environmental benefits of CCS technology which removes carbon dioxide during the process of energy generation and converts it into liquid to be stored underground. However the ability to apply this on a commercial scale does not exist and Scottish Power has not given any indication of its plans for Longannet in the event of this project failing.

SANC is today challenging the company to end this uncertainty. “Scottish Power should stop dodging the question and tell the Scottish public what it plans to do in the event of CCS proving unworkable or uncommercial,” said Dave. “Either commit to closing Longannet immediately or admit that you will continue to burn coal with a blatant disregard for the potentially catastrophic consequences of this action”

SANC believes the only way to ensure the necessary cuts in emissions would be if the Scottish Government introduced a strict emissions performance standard in the forthcoming climate bill. Such a move would demonstrate true leadership and sow the seeds of a sustainable economic future in the process.

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