Peterhead carbon capture plant would deliver 'significant benefits' to local communities

Plans for a carbon capture power plant in the north-east of Scotland would deliver “significant benefits” to workers and local communities, officials have been told.

SSE Thermal and Equinor are developing Peterhead carbon capture power station, which would become Scotland’s first power plant equipped with a carbon capture facility to remove CO2 from its emissions.

The project would connect into the Scottish Cluster’s CO2 transport and storage infrastructure, which underpins plans to deliver one of the UK’s first low-carbon industrial clusters.

The site this week hosted members of Scotland’s Just Transition Commission, which is tasked with scrutinising and providing expert advice on the Scottish Government’s sectoral and regional “just transition” plans. Rachel McEwen, SSE’s chief sustainability officer, is part of the commission.

The visit included a tour of the potential site for Peterhead Carbon Capture Power Station. Picture: Newsline Media

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As part of the visit, the commissioners heard about progress in the development of the carbon capture facility and met with a range of workers, including four of the ten apprentices who started work at the site in 2021.

In 2020, Perth-headquartered energy giant SSE became the first company to publish a just transition strategy, which outlined how the business will approach the social implications of delivering net zero - from jobs and training, to working with communities and ensuring no one is left behind.

In February, SSE set four core business goals to 2030, which included a commitment to champion a fair and just energy transition by guaranteeing fair work, committing to paying fair tax, and sharing economic value.

Richard Hardy, Just Transition commissioner, said: “The conversations we had with workers and apprentices at Peterhead Power Station underlined the need for decisive leadership as we accelerate the changes necessary for a net zero future: leadership and engagement with workers and communities is vital for a future that doesn’t repeat the mistakes of the 1980s.”

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Hannah Bronwin, director of business development for SSE Thermal, said: “Our project at Peterhead will not only make a major difference in reducing carbon emissions and supporting a stable and secure transition to net zero, it will help retain jobs in the north-east of Scotland and create significant economic benefits across the wider region.

“The just transition sits at the heart of SSE’s strategy, which is why we were delighted to host Scotland’s Just Transition Commission at the site. We were able to illustrate the importance of Peterhead for Scotland’s energy future, and the potential for our carbon capture project to kick-start wider industrial decarbonisation across the north-east and beyond through the Scottish Cluster.”

The firm said the new Peterhead plant would not only allow the site to continue providing “flexible power to keep the lights on” while backing up renewable generation, it would also create “significant socio-economic opportunities”.

In January, SSE Thermal and Equinor entered the Peterhead project into a UK government competition which aims to support industrial clusters to decarbonise. The project is currently undergoing evaluation as part of the second phase of the process.

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The proposed new station could capture an average of one and a half million tonnes of CO2 a year.

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