Hunterston 'would suit carbon capture centre'

CCS technology pilot project at Longannet ScottishPower had plans for a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) development at Longannet

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The company planning to build a coal-burning power station in North Ayrshire has said it could replace Longannet in Fife as the centre for developing carbon capture and storage technology.

The Fife plans collapsed when the UK government withdrew its proposed £1bn commitment for the pioneering plant.

But Ayrshire Power Ltd said there were huge advantages in designing the technology into a new power station.

It wants to talk to the UK government about developing the technology.

Ayrshire Power, which has submitted an application to construct a new power station at Hunterston in North Ayrshire, said it was disappointed at the collapse of ScottishPower's plans for a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) development at Longannet.

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne announced the failure to reach a "deal" with power companies to capture carbon dioxide emissions at the plant and pipe them under the sea.

He blamed problems with the length of pipeline needed, but added the government hoped other schemes could work, indicating interest at Peterhead in Aberdeenshire.

'Enormous advantages'

In a statement, Ayrshire Power said it had continually stressed the complementary nature of other CCS projects at Longannet and Peterhead and the significant economic opportunity all three represented to Scotland.

It continued: "However, while we believe the proposals for Longannet had very considerable merit, our view is that there are also enormous advantages in demonstrating CCS technology on an all new state-of-the-art power station of the type proposed for Hunterston.

"We firmly believe that Hunterston, which would have CCS 'designed-in' from the start, represents an ideal opportunity to progress this technology and deliver a facility which is expected to be more efficient than any other coal-fired power plant in the UK, ultimately capturing 90% of the CO2 produced."

The company added that it would welcome the opportunity to discuss with the government what the next steps should be "in ensuring that Scotland and the UK takes the lead in pioneering this truly groundbreaking technology".

A year ago, the Longannet project became the only entrant in a CCS competition run by the UK government for £1bn of funding, after energy giant E.On dropped plans for a plant at its proposed Kingsnorth power station in Kent.

In June, ScottishPower and its partners National Grid and Shell UK announced plans to create an onshore pipeline carrying up to two million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) as part of a CCS scheme to pump emissions from Longannet to the North Sea.

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