The Scottish Parliament this Thursday voted by a clear majority against SNP plans for new coal-fired power stations, such as the one proposed at Hunterston, a project which Ministers have been promoting on the basis that up to a quarter of its carbon emissions would be captured and stored.
The decision by MSPs follows the recent publication of academic research which concludes that "geologic sequestration of CO2 [is] a profoundly non-feasible option for the management of CO2 emissions". The paper, published in the Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, seriously questions Ministers' confidence about the technology. Its authors conclude that "underground carbon dioxide sequestration via bulk CO2 injection is not feasible at any cost".
Patrick Harvie MSP said:
"Parliament has today made the most crucial decision about Scotland's future since the passage of the Climate Change Act last year. This plant has been dogged by controversy from the start, and Ministers now face a possible judicial review if they try and force it through.
"Let's not waste everyone's time - I invite Peel Energy to accept the will of Parliament and withdraw their application. This project is going nowhere, and if they proceed they will be wasting taxpayers' time and money as well as their own. The game is up for new coal plants in Scotland.
"Meanwhile Ministers are determined to try and persuade us all that carbon capture and storage is ready to go. There is simply too much doubt that carbon capture and storage will be practical or affordable. The sheer amount of geological storage space required is too high: if this paper is correct, more than thirteen thousand square miles would be required just for a small power station, just a third the size of the one proposed for Hunterston.
"It is still worth continuing the research, and perhaps trialling carbon capture at existing plants. But if this report is correct, it will remain on the drawing board, unlike the proven renewables we will continue to campaign for."