Scottish Government warned Peterhead fossil fuel power plans are 'climate disaster'

Climate campaigners have warned Scottish Government Ministers that approving a huge new fossil gas power station at Peterhead would be a ‘climate disaster’ for decades to come. The message came as the First Minister headed to Dubai for the UN climate conference COP28 which began on Thursday.

The Scottish Government are considering an application from energy giants SSE and Equinor to build a new gas burning power station at Peterhead, in addition to the existing gas plant.

Climate campaigners also said that new fossil fuel infrastructure undermines the transition to renewable energy by creating long term demand for gas as well as diverting resources away much-needed green energy developments.

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Official figures from SEPA show the existing plant in Peterhead has been the single worst polluter in Scotland for the past 5 years, belching out over 1.35million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2022.

SEPA recently revealed that the Aberdeenshire gas plant produced 1.35milion tonnes of climate changing carbon dioxide in 2022SEPA recently revealed that the Aberdeenshire gas plant produced 1.35milion tonnes of climate changing carbon dioxide in 2022
SEPA recently revealed that the Aberdeenshire gas plant produced 1.35milion tonnes of climate changing carbon dioxide in 2022

SSE, who made £565million in profits in the past six months, were forced to admit in planning application documents that the two plants would run at the same time and could increase total climate emissions from the site. The developers claim that they will add carbon capture technology to the new station at a later date, but experience around the world has shown that this technology has never delivered at the levels its proponents claim.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s climate campaigner Alex Lee said: “If the Scottish Government approves new fossil fuelled power at Peterhead, it would be a climate disaster that further endangers people in Scotland through worsening climate breakdown and exposes household energy bills to the greed of the fossil fuel industry for another 25 years.

“Fossil fuels are driving the cost-of-living crisis yet this Peterhead expansion plan would continue to trap people in paying energy prices set by the volatile global gas market. Renewable energy is more affordable, reliable and can deliver greater benefits across Scottish communities.

“The Scottish Government have the final say on if this toxic project goes ahead. It must reject the relentless lobbying of big polluters and instead invest in a fast and fair transition to renewable energy, with workers and communities’ needs at its heart.”

A spokesperson for SSE Thermal said: “Carbon capture technology will be essential to decarbonising the power system on the way to net zero. Both the Scottish and UK Government recognise that, with the latter this year outlining plans to invest £20bn in CCUS over the next 20 years. As the UK’s only flexible power station north of Leeds, decarbonising Peterhead is of the utmost importance which is why we continue to progress plans for the new Peterhead Carbon Capture Power Station, which would provide vital low-carbon flexible backup to renewables.

“The new plant, which would connect into the wider CCS infrastructure being developed by UK Government, will ultimately replace the existing station, which we have already said we don’t foresee running unabated beyond the end of this decade. This will deliver huge emissions reductions and the reality is the project will not proceed unless it can capture at least 90 per cent of emissions. Indeed, we are working to secure even higher capture rates.

“Ultimately, Peterhead Carbon Capture Power Station will help to keep the lights on, facilitate the transition to net zero and create jobs in the region.”