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Adam welcomes Scottish Government carbon capture cash boost for north-east

By Alan Beresford

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A NORTH-east carbon capture project has been handed an £80 million boost.

SNP MSP for Banffshrie and Buchan Coast Karen Adam.
SNP MSP for Banffshrie and Buchan Coast Karen Adam.

The cash, which is coming from the Scottish Government's Emerging Energy Technologies Fund, aims to help the Scottish Cluster carbon capture project accelerate its effort to help Scotland’s just transition to net zero.

It is proposed to work with UK Government support to develop “three CCS clusters for the price of two” and grant the Scottish Cluster clear and definitive Track-1 status in its carbon capture sequencing process.

Energy Secretary Michael Matheson met virtually with UK government’s Minister for Energy Greg Hands recently, setting out the funding offer and pressing the UK government to provide certainty for the Scottish Cluster.

News of the funding was hailed by Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Karen Adam, in whose constituency the project is situated.

She said: “I welcome the significant funding commitment from the SNP Scottish Government.

"The Westminster Tories betrayed the north-east when they snubbed the Acorn Project here in Banffshire and Buchan Coast.

“Although this matter is largely reserved to the UK government, the Scottish Government are once again having to go above and beyond to make up for the deficit caused by the Conservatives abandoning the north east.

“The amount of money the north-east has poured into the coffers of the UK treasury over the past few decades has been astronomical. The UK government are always happy to take our tax revenues but never willing to invest here.

"The UK Tory government’s rhetoric about 'standing up for the north-east' has been found to be just that, rhetoric. Words and not actions. Meanwhile, the Scottish Government have taken action and put up significant funding to ensure the Scottish cluster remains formidable.”

Energy Secretary Michael Matheson MSP.
Energy Secretary Michael Matheson MSP.

Mr Matheson said: “The UK government’s decision not to award the Scottish Cluster clear and definitive Track-1 status is a serious mistake which shows a clear lack of ambition and leadership on climate change.

“Delaying or halting the deployment of the Scottish Cluster has serious consequences, including jeopardising the industrial decarbonisation of Scotland and our just transition to net zero, creating an un-level playing field across the UK, and endangering Scottish and UK-wide net zero targets.

“That is why I am announcing...that we stand ready with up to £80 million of funding to help the Scottish Cluster continue and accelerate the deployment of carbon capture technology.

“Unfortunately we do not hold all the necessary legislative and regulatory levers needed to support the Scottish Cluster, as they are not devolved. We cannot simply go it alone with our funding. Our offer of support is therefore made on the basis that the Scottish Cluster is given certainty of its due status within the UK sequencing process, and I once again urge the UK Government to provide this certainty for the benefit of our energy sector and for our ability to deliver a just transition to net zero.”

Andrew Bowie, MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine.
Andrew Bowie, MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine.

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine Conservative MP Andrew Bowie said the Scottish Government had been vague on the details of their Just Transition Fund for the North East and Moray.

He continued: "I support the aims of Acorn's stakeholders of being operational by 2026 and the UK government continues to engage with them on this major development for the north-east, having already invested £31 million in the project.

"I believe, as do those in the industry, that all our CCUS sites will be needed for the UK to reach carbon net zero.

"And driving the transition from oil and gas will be the UK's £16 billion-plus North Sea Transition Deal.

"In contrast, there are still no details of when and how the SNP's Just Transition Fund for the North East and Moray will arrive.

"The SNP's Green coalition partners are opposed to any government investment in CCUS, and any financial backing from the Scottish Government will have to be signed off by them, first.

"We have seen the impact of their undue influence on the development of Cambo. So much for supporting the fair transition from oil and gas."

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