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First coal power station plans since 1970 lodged

Controversial plans for the first coal-fired power station to be built since the 1970s have been formally lodged.

The proposal to develop at Hunterston in Ayrshire, first submitted in March, has been checked by officials and can now be opened for public comment and consideration by the Scottish Government.

MSPs have already signalled their opposition to the plan, which environment groups also oppose. In March, MSPs backed the Green party in a 66-26 vote urging ministers to reject the application.

The vote added to concerns that the carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, which removes CO2 emissions and pipes the gas underground, is not ready on a commercial scale.

Ministers did not vote on the issue following advice that they cannot air opinions while the application is being considered.

Applicants Ayrshire Power said the plant could meet the energy needs of three million homes and create 160 jobs, with 1,600 people working at the peak of construction.

It is the first application in the UK since rules forcing all new plants to be fitted with CCS technology were introduced last year.

Project director Muir Miller said: “We are pleased that our application has now progressed to the next stage of the planning process.

“We believe our proposal supports the UK and Scottish governments’ commitment to leading the way in developing CCS to assist in de-carbonising the UK’s electricity sector by 2030.”

The development is earmarked for a site between the existing Clydeport coal handling depot at the Hunterston terminal and Hunterston B nuclear power plant. It would burn coal and “biomass” fuel with “strict emissions control”, the firm said.

Readers' comments (4)

  • It is all very well moaning about the environmental impact of these schemes - justified in most cases - but when it is a choice between this and the lights turning off I know where my vote would go...

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  • The Green Party dislike, and oppose everything (but more insulation in homes). They seem to have no concept of the energy needed to keep our industry and services (e.g. Hospitals) running.

    Sadly the Institution has slipped into a coma and has given no lead in promoting the need for more coal and nuclear power stations. Thank goodness that Anthony has ceased his diatribe against nuclear power, but if we are to move to a lower carbon economy then both Nuclear and CCS/ coal based power will be needed.

    Power stations provide interesting work for Civil Engineers and we should encourage the government to promote work that is both good for the country and also provides employment for engineers.

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  • I am a chartered civil engineer specialised in power plant construction. I have had to work overseas for much of the last 25 years. I am currently running a site in South East Asia where we are building a large coal fired power plant and we employ 3300 men. This is a great project using technology more advanced than that used in the UK. We are environmentally and social aware and we put much back into the local communities including building local schools. We are proud of our work. Well done UK Ltd in making this wise move. Maybe I could work in my own country for a change.
    Robert A Gibson MICE (

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  • How will this fit into our aspirations to reduce CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050?
    Do we care?
    If not, let's be honest and forget the bit about serving the needs of society in our profession and just admit that what we like most is serving the interests of ourselves - i.e. jobs.
    I suspect there's more jobs per unit of electricity generated in renewables, but getting behind that means putting our money where our mouths are regarding how engineers love challenges and being at the forefront of finding solutions to the needs of society. Are we ready to embrace this or do we most of all, just like doing what we've done before?
    If we are to deserve the respect we believe we need from society, don't we need to show we've got the wider, long term interests at heart, otherwise why should we be trusted?

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