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ScottishPower Consortium Through To Final Stages Of UK Government CCS Competition


The ScottishPower led Carbon Capture and Storage Consortium has been selected as one of the final bids in the UK Government’s carbon capture and storage competition.

Today’s announcement by Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, marks the start of a detailed 12 month design and development study of the ScottishPower led CCS project.

ScottishPower’s Chief Executive, Nick Horler said, “We are delighted to have been selected for the next critical stage of the government’s competition. The real work of finally making CCS a commercial reality begins today as this funding will now enable ScottishPower to take the technology from the concept to design the stage. It will tell us exactly what we need to know so that we can quickly build this new and essential technology. It also puts the UK back at the head of the pack when it comes to delivering full-scale commercial CCS on a global stage. We will deliver our plans to DECC a year from now, putting both us and the UK Government in a position to understand exactly what it will take to make CCS a reality by 2014.”

The design and development contract, awarded by DECC will enable engineers from the consortium, which comprises ScottishPower, National Grid and Shell along with their contracting partners, Aker Clean Carbon and Accenture, to plan what could be the world’s first commercial scale CCS scheme to be fitted to a coal-fired power plant.

The companies will now be able to fully develop their design and engineering plans as well as cost every aspect of the project. These studies will be completed in time to submit detailed bids in 12 months. This will enable them to know precisely what it takes to capture and store CO2 from ScottishPower’s power station at Longannet in Fife, Scotland, and transport it hundreds of miles along existing pipelines, so that it can be stored safely in porous rock formations thousands of metres below the North Sea.

The collaboration between Government and industry in the development and deployment of CCS technology is an essential step in the drive to meet the UK’s CO2 emissions reduction target of 80% by 2050. Official studies show that the move towards a low-carbon economy, of which CCS is a vital part, will also create thousands of new jobs throughout the country over the next decade and beyond.

John Gallagher, Shell Upstream Europe Technical Vice President, based in Aberdeen, said, “We are pleased that the government has awarded our consortium a FEED contract for our CCS project.  We believe that carbon capture and storage is an essential pathway in the world’s efforts to constrain CO2 emissions and this is a great opportunity for Scotland and the UK.  The technical and economic challenges of CCS and this project remain significant, but we will be making every effort to ensure a successful project plan is delivered.”

ScottishPower’s bid is based upon a retrofit project at Longannet power station. Last year the company switched-on a prototype carbon capture test unit at the power plant- the first time anywhere in the UK that carbon capture technology has been working on a coal fired power station. This will help prove the chemistry of carbon capture and uses the same technology that can be retrofitted by 2014 as part of the UK Government’s CCS competition.

Nick Winser, National Grid’s Executive Director for Transmission, said, “Longannet offers an ideal site for a demonstration project – close not just to the North Sea but to existing National Grid natural gas pipelines that could be reused for CO2 transportation as North Sea supplies decline. This CO2 pipeline could then be available for use by other future CCS projects, making Longannet the founding member of a Scottish CCS cluster.

“CCS offers a huge potential to both reduce emissions and maintain security of supply so we welcome DECC's announcement as a significant step forward in turning the technology from concept into reality.”

Media information – Simon McMillan 0141 566 4875 / 07753 622 257

Notes to Editors:

  • The competition was launched in late 2007 to encourage energy companies to develop commercially viable CCS schemes. There were originally nine entrants. The ScottishPower entry is one of two bids selected by DECC to enter the final stage of the competition before the contract to build the CCS system - which is expected to be awarded in 2011.
  • The design and development study contract is also known as the Front End Engineering Design contract (FEED). It is standard practice for major industrial and engineering projects to carry out a FEED study before building work begins.
  • Once operational the capture technology will reduce CO2 emissions by 90% from one 300MW unit at ScottishPower’s coal-fired plant. That would be equivalent to taking one million cars off the road.
  • The ScottishPower Consortium is currently operating a carbon capture prototype at its power station at Longannet in Fife, Scotland. It was installed in May 2009 and has run for over 3000 hours.
  • It is the only energy company in the UK which is capturing carbon on a working coal-fired power station. This programme is helping to prove the chemistry of carbon capture and uses the same technology that can be retrofitted to the tens of thousands of coal-fired power stations worldwide.

Longannet Power Station Facts:

  • The station is located on the banks of the Firth of Forth, on 89 hectares of land (or 89,000m2)
  • First opened in 1969 – it was fully operational from 1973.
  • It operates four 600-megawatt (MW) turbines, and has a net output of 2,304MW of electricity, which is enough to keep the lights on in 2 million UK homes.
  • It is the second largest coal power station in the UK, and third largest in Europe.