Hopes are rising that Scotland's first carbon-capture-and-storage facility is finally to get UK Government support.

The Acorn project at the St Fergus gas terminal will pipe harmful greenhouse gas emissions out to the North Sea for storage.

But it missed out on government support previously.

Now the BBC says the Treasury has hinted that funding might be coming in the Chancellor's spring Budget tomorrow.

It had been described previously as "shovel ready", but was instead placed on a reserve list.

But, in the lead-up to the Budget, the Treasury has announced a "reset" with "unprecedented investment in domestic carbon capture" totalling £20billion over the next 20 years.


Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said he was committed to "spades on the ground" from next year.

Acorn - a critical element of the Scottish Cluster - is one of the most advanced projects of its type in the UK.

It had been hoped to be one of the first to receive government backing in 2021, but lost out to two projects in the north of England around the Humber and the Mersey.

An earlier plan to store emissions from Peterhead's gas-fired power station was dropped in 2015 when the coalition government cancelled a £1billion competition to develop the technology.

Carbon-capture-and-storage (CCS) is seen by policy makers as a vital tool in achieving net-zero emissions.

It would prevent carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere by capturing it at the point where the fossil fuel is being burnt.

Acorn would take greenhouse gases from a range of industrial processes across the country.


Gas pipelines from the north-east to the refinery at Grangemouth would be put into reverse to carry the CO2 back north.

Energy firm SSE Thermal has said it wants to build a new power station at Peterhead which would incorporate CCS.

The existing terminal at St Fergus would be used to turn natural gas into so-called blue hydrogen with the carbon dioxide being pumped back offshore.

There is even a proposal for direct air capture which would suck CO2 out of the air for storage.

However some environmentalists are opposed to the technology,which they feel is a "dangerous distraction" from the urgent need to cut our emissions.

Friends of the Earth Scotland has long been vocal in its view that the money would be better spent on delivering a just transition away from fossil fuels.

Inquiry into CCS

Last week, Westminster's Scottish Affairs Committee published the findings of its inquiry into CCS in Scotland.

It said Acorn could hold the key to the technology being rolled out at scale across the UK and called on the chancellor to provide backing in his Budget.

Acorn is a joint venture, set up by four partner companies – Storegga, Shell UK, Harbour Energy and North Sea Midstream Partners – with financial backing from the UK and Scottish governments, as well as the European Commission.

The Scottish Cluster aims to create low-carbon jobs while sustaining vital industries where it is hard to reduce emissions and provide an economic path to net zero for Scotland and the UK.

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