Carbon Capture Eyed for New Scottish Gas-Fired Plant

Two major European energy companies said they will jointly develop a new natural gas-fired power plant that features carbon capture technology. The 900-MW Peterhead CCS Power Station would be built as part of Scotland’s Net Zero Infrastructure program.

SSE, a British utility, and Norwegian energy firm Equinor announced the new plant on May 11. The companies said the facility could use carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to capture up to 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year, which would account for 15% of the UK government’s annual target of 10 million tonnes of CO2 capture by 2030.

SSE already operates a combined-cycle gas turbine power station at the site in Aberdeenshire, on Scotland’s northeast coast, and has said it wants to decarbonize that facility. The companies said the CO2 released at the Aberdeenshire site would be captured and could be transported to the Acorn CO2 storage site, a project under development about 62 miles off Scotland’s North Sea coast. That facility also is part of the Net Zero Infrastructure program, which recently was awarded funding from the UK government.

Grete Tveit, senior vice president for Equinor’s low-carbon solutions, in a statement Tuesday said, “We are pleased to be joining SSE Thermal in the development of this world-leading plant at Peterhead. It is another important step in the energy partnership between Equinor and SSE.”

The companies on Tuesday said a final investment decision for the Peterhead facility has not been made, but said that with financing and other associated infrastructure in place, the plant could enter commercial operation by 2026.

Stephen Wheeler, SSE Thermal managing director, in a statement said, “We’re delighted to announce this agreement with Equinor today to work together to decarbonize our power generation at Peterhead. Through cutting-edge carbon capture technology, we can decarbonize this vital flexible power generation, as well as heavy industry and other hard-to-reach sectors of the economy, which will be crucial in Scotland transitioning to a net-zero future.”

UK Net-Zero Target

The UK has a target to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The country is set to host the  2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.

“Carbon capture storage technology is one of the most exciting and innovative ways that we’re looking to tackle climate change, and today’s announcement marks a significant step toward a greener, more sustainable future for Scotland and the whole UK,” said Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Britain’s energy minister. 

Said Wheeler: “Ahead of the critical COP26 conference in Glasgow this year, there is a clear opportunity to demonstrate leadership on CCS, maximizing the benefits of a green recovery in industrial regions and ensuring a just transition for workers and communities.”

Equinor and SSE already are jointly developing two low-carbon power plants at Keadby in North Lincolnshire, UK. They also are partners in the massive Dogger Bank offshore wind farm project in the North Sea, which would be the world’s largest offshore wind development. Dogger Bank is being built in three phases, each with potential capacity of up to 1.2 GW.

Darrell Proctor is associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).


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