Green energy plans could capture 5,000 jobs for Scotland

MORE than 5,000 green energy jobs could be created through the construction and operation of three Scottish carbon capture and storage demonstration projects in a £3 billion boost for the economy, according to research by Scottish Enterprise.

The massive potential jobs boost for Scotland was announced today to coincide with the opening day of All-Energy 2011, the UK's annual renewable energy exhibition and conference in Aberdeen.

The carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects currently in the pipeline north of the Border are planned for Longannet, Peterhead and Hunterston.

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The proposed facilities, if fully developed, will test and demonstrate the technical and commercial aspects of CCS technology, paving the way for the deployment of CCS in existing and new fossil-fuel power plants to reduce dramatically Scotland's carbon emissions.

The study by Scottish Enterprise (SE) concludes that the three projects could create up to 4,600 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase through to 2020, with a further 454 operational jobs during the operational lifetime of the demonstration facilities.

The projects combined could be worth 2.75bn to the Scottish economy during construction, with an additional 535 million a year over their lifetime.

Adrian Gillespie, the agency's senior director of energy and low-carbon technologies, said: "CCS is acknowledged as having an important role to play in supporting Scotland's ambitious emission-reduction targets. However, demonstration projects, such as the three proposed Scottish projects, are critical.

"The far-reaching impacts revealed in this study underline the potential of carbon capture and storage, not only in long-term economic and environmental terms, but also in the shorter term, delivering significant immediate benefits for the Scottish economy."

First Minister Alex Salmond welcomed the findings of the study. He said: "Our capacity to store carbon emissions offshore is the largest in the European Union and greater than that of the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark combined."

A spokeswoman for SE said: "Scotland is recognised to have a competitive advantage in CCS and the potential to become a global leader in the field by building on the country's storage capacity in the North Sea, skills and supply-chain strengths from the existing oil and gas sector and world-leading industrial research and academic capabilities.

Early adoption of CCS technology could help to safeguard the future employment for many of the 150,000 working in Scotland's offshore industry.

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"The wider economic opportunities for the development of a CCS-based industry are considerable and a whole new industry could emerge in Scotland."