Research by Garrad Hassan1 has shown that Scotland's energy needs can be fully met using well- sited renewables, and without building new coal fired power stations. The report looked at five scenarios for our future energy supply, and established that by 2030 renewable energy could meet between 60% and 143% of Scotland’s projected annual electricity demand, depending on the level of investment in energy saving and new renewables. It shows that it is entirely plausible that no large-scale fossil fuel fired generating capacity would need to remain online by 2030. The report also concluded that new unabated fossil fuel capacity, especially coal-fired, would severely compromise the likelihood of delivering our climate change targets. Techniques such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) abatement technology will be part of our transition to a low carbon economy, but we should concentrate on exploring these options at existing power stations so that there is a net reduction in emissions, rather than adding to emissions by building new plant.
The Scottish Government recently announced changes to their policy on requirements for CCS, so that new coal fired power stations would now have to demonstrate CCS on 300MW (net) of capacity from the first day of operation. However, for a 1852MW proposal like Hunterston, this still means over three quarters of capacity would be unabated. This would result in significant additional carbon emissions and would compromise our ability to meet the emissions reduction targets in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.
Retrofitting CCS technology on existing plants, such as Longannet power station in Fife, would result in an overall reduction in emissions and help demonstrate the commercial viability of this new technology. We urge the Scottish Government to ensure that CCS technology is used to move Scotland towards a low-carbon energy supply rather than provide for a ‘business as usual’ approach by industry.
The potential impacts of building this power station have given surrounding communities cause for concern, and a number of them have formed a local action group called CONCH (Communities Opposed to New Coal at Hunterston). An individual who lives close to the site is currently pursuing a Judicial Review of the designation of the Hunterston proposal as a National Development in the National Planning Framework 2. We share their concerns about the process.
We believe that Scotland’s energy future should be environmentally sustainable and should support climate change objectives, with generation primarily from renewable energy combined
would cause direct environmental harm and result in significant additional gas emissions, and should not go ahead as currently proposed. RSPB Scotland
does not believe that new, largely unabated coal fired of our necessarily ambitious climate change targets.
For further information please contact:
Aedán Smith, Head of Planning and Development, or Julia Harrison, Parliamentary Officer RSPB Scotland, 25 Ravelston Terrace, Edinburgh EH4 3TP Tel: 0131 311 6500 Fax: 0131 311 6569
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