Letting Down Longannet

In October 2011, the UK Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) pulled the rug from under the proposed Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project at Longannet Power Station. This project would have put Fife at the pioneering forefront of new CCS technology, reducing carbon emissions, delivering highly skilled well-paid jobs and stimulating growth in our local economy.

Longannet won the competition for funding after all other bidders for the CCS project withdrew, yet the UK Government pulled out at the 11th hour out and re-ran the competition, claiming they could not reach an agreement with the developers.

Could it be that they did not want a Scottish site to, alone, claim this important UK project? The DECC has now selected two new bidders to come up with proposals for a final investment decision in 2015: Peterhead gas-fired station and Drax coal-fired station in Yorkshire. This time, Westminster is calling for a “UK-wide programme”, which suggests a solo Scottish proposal will not be permitted to run away with the prize.

This state of affairs could not happen if we in Scotland took charge of our own political and investment decisions. Only a Yes vote in next year’s Independence Referendum can achieve this.

The above was originally written for Bill’s Dunfermline Press column. This version may vary slightly.

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