Question S4O-00349: Longannet Power Station Carbon Capture Project

Bill Walker: To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with the United Kingdom Government regarding the withdrawal of funding from the Longannet carbon capture project.

Current Status: Taken in the Chamber on 10/11/2011

Fergus Ewing (Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism): The Scottish Government has had proactive discussions with the UK Government in the period up to and since the UK Government decision on the Longannet demonstration project. Ahead of the announcement, the First Minister wrote and spoke to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, to raise our concerns and to ensure every possible option was considered. Following the recent disappointment over Longannet and the previous UK Government’s abandonment of the earlier Peterhead carbon capture and storage project, it is essential that Westminster clearly demonstrate its commitment to supporting the commercial development of CCS, not least when the continued commitment from industry is so clear.

Bill Walker: The Westminster decision on Longannet is a heavy blow for Dunfermline and west Fife. Can the minister advise us on what the future might be in Scotland for the further development of the pioneering carbon capture work that was successfully started at Longannet?

Fergus Ewing: The Longannet decision was a deep disappointment, not least for the Scottish Power team and the consortium that it led. They put in a lot of work, and they have left behind a legacy of invaluable advice on the topic.

In Peterhead, Scotland has a candidate for applying the CCS technology. I was in Brussels with a top team from Scotland yesterday evening, following the announcement yesterday morning of the excellent news about the joint arrangement between Shell and Scottish and Southern Energy to proceed with a pre-feed study to allow Peterhead to have a CCS project for Scotland. That is excellent news that offers a tremendous opportunity, which I hope we will all grasp.

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