Longannet carbon-capture facility plans are shelved

Plans to develop a carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility at Longannet power station in Scotland have been shelved.

Energy secretary Chris Huhne said in a statement that the decision was made after a failure to reach a satisfactory deal for the project.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) says that £1bn in funding will now be made available for other CCS projects from England and Scotland.

‘CCS is a key technology for the UK’s long-term energy strategy,’ said Huhne. ‘A billion pounds is enough to demonstrate this vital new technology in the UK, but it’s got to be spent in the most effective way.

The CCS facility at Longannet — dubbed ’Competition One’ — was being developed by a consortium comprising Scottish Power, National Grid and Shell.

Scottish Power said in a statement that the consortium invested more than £20m to complete the investigation into the potential of the technology and had more than 400 experts from various disciplines — engineering, pipeline, offshore, planning, commercial and legal —  working on CCS for four years.

‘Our combined efforts have seen this potentially world-changing technology develop from being a concept in a laboratory to a definitive blueprint that could be implemented,’ said Hugh Finlay, Scottish Power’s generation director.

‘As a result of the study we now understand how the CCS process works from power station to storage site. This gives us great insight into the physical infrastructure that we need to support it, the regulatory framework it fits within and the organisational model of a CCS business.

‘All of this information will be made available through DECC’s Knowledge Transfer programme and will be of enormous benefit to other CCS developers and stakeholders.’

Tom Foulkes, Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) director general, added: ‘We’re very concerned that beginning the bidding process again for CCS projects is going to further delay the development of this vital technology.

‘Government needs to demonstrate to industry that they are fully behind CCS and make every effort to ensure that Plan B is more effective than Plan A.’

According to DECC, ministers will meet with industry figures on 2 November to discuss next steps and lessons learned at the Carbon Capture and Storage Development Forum.