Government inaction and high costs are thought to be forcing ScottishPower to pull out of a project to install carbon capture and storage (CCS) plant at Longannet coal-fired power station in Fife, Scotland.
Slow decisions a factor
Experts have blamed slow decision making by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc). Spiralling project costs are also thought to be a factor.
Decc and ScottishPower denied that the scheme was being halted and insisted negotiations were ongoing.
A gap between how much money Decc and ScottishPower want to commit to the scheme to develop CCS technology at Longannet has caused problems.
“This competition has been ongoing for over four years yet we don’t have a piece of hard infrastructure to support it”
Consultant Waterman business development director Joe Morris
Latest estimates from Scottish Government development agency Scottish Enterprise put the cost at £1.2bn, Decc planned to allocate £1bn to the scheme. Industry insiders said that this higher-than-expected cost, coupled with a possible drop of 30% in the power station’s efficiency, makes the scheme unviable without more government support.
Experts have also criticised Decc’s method of choosing which power station to try out the technology. Consultant Waterman business development director Joe Morris said Decc’s “bureaucratic methodology” had effectively halted the project.
“This competition has been ongoing for over four years yet we don’t have a piece of hard infrastructure to support it.”
In addition, he said environmental permits and construction of the pipeline required to take the carbon emissions from Longannet to the North Sea will take at least five to 10 years.