Saturday, January 25, 2020
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Capturing carbon? No, just leaking cash

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PLANS have been announced for an alliance between the Scottish government and a group of North Sea oil industry backers to deliver industrial decarbonisation.

This would be done through the creation of the UK’s first carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) plant, which they say will be operational by 2024.

Scotland’s energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said CCUS was ‘essential’ in helping Scotland to reach net zero emissions by 2045. 

The £275million Acorn CCUS project at St Fergus, near Peterhead, will now be scaled up.

And there goes another chunk of taxpayers’ cash.

For the hard fact is that there are no successful commercial Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) plants in the world. America has sent men to the Moon, unmanned spacecraft to Mars and other planets, but has no CCS.

The Kemper coal-fired power station in Mississippi was to be the future global model for a new generation of CCS clean coal plants. But, despite a $7.5billion price tag, it failed. It abandoned its costly ‘green CCS nightmare’ and now operates on natural gas. 

As for the St Fergus plans, one can guarantee that public money is to be ‘invested’. But how much? And will more have to be ploughed in later?

If members of the Scottish parliament, scientists, academics, the green brigade and climate demonstrators are so enraptured by this Scottish CCUS venture, they should put their own money on the line, not that of the taxpayer.

Reality check: Scotland is responsible for 0.13 per cent of global emissions and the world is still building basic coal-fired power plants, not CCS ones.

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Clark Cross
Clark Cross is a retired chartered accountant, finance director and managing director. He lives in Scotland.

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