Why SNP backs Scottish Cluster campaign - Richard Thomson MP

The SNP’s 2021 manifesto was very clear that the party hopes to develop low-cost, low-carbon hydrogen in Scotland. Likewise, the manifesto was supportive of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) as a method to decarbonise Scottish industry and support Scotland’s transition to a green economy.

To meet net zero targets, reducing industry emissions will require widespread use of CCS technology and hydrogen, both of which are essential for decarbonising sectors such as transport, heat, and power and for supporting the deployment of carbon removal technologies like Direct Air Capture.

There are currently 160,000 people currently directly and indirectly employed in the UK offshore energy sector, many of those in Scotland CCUS and other decarbonising industries could actually see this number increase to 200,000 as we invest and support the development and deployment of low carbon hydrogen in the region.

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The SNP is committed to ensuring a green recovery and a transition that supports green jobs, skills and expertise. We are believers that Scotland’s existing oil and gas infrastructure can be repurposed to enable industrial decarbonisation, shortening delivery timescales enabling the development of the wider CCUS industry in the UK as a key storage site. A scheme like the Acorn project in Aberdeenshire fits these criteria perfectly. Not only does it reskill workers and support Scotland’s ambition to reach Net Zero by 2045, by being able to repurpose existing pipeline infrastructure and just as importantly be able to accept CO2 ‘imports’ from other parts of the UK and Europe, it has the potential to be the quickest to commission and by far the most scalable of the options currently under consideration.

The North East of Scotland has for many decades been a centre of excellence in oil and gas and through investment we can see that happening as energy transition technologies are developed, to be rolled out globally, from Aberdeenshire.

The UK Government has committed to fund CCUS and projects like the Acorn Project. At the end of May they committed to £166 million of funding to support ambitious climate commitments. The SNP is behind this investment and it is our belief that steps such as this, combined with projects such as Acorn in Aberdeenshire show our commitment to a sustainable Scotland, growing our skilled workforce and maximise the opportunities presented in the North Sea to build back greener.

Richard Thomson MP is the SNP Member for Gordon writing in support of the Back the Scottish Cluster campaign, pressing the case for the Scottish Cluster in the BEIS cluster sequencing process.

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