SSE Thermal
Peterhead power station. Credit: SSE

SSE Thermal and Equinor have announced plans to jointly develop a new low-carbon power station at Peterhead, which could become one of the UK’s first power stations equipped with carbon capture technology.

Peterhead CCS Power Station is planned to be a new 900MW gas-fired power station fitted with carbon capture technology to remove carbon dioxide from its emissions. By capturing up to 1.5 million tonnes (MT) of CO2 each year, the new station alone would achieve 15% of the UK Government’s target to capture 10MT of CO2 annually by 2030.

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Energy Minister and the UK’s International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience for COP26, Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Carbon capture storage technology is one of the most exciting and innovative ways that we’re looking to tackle climate change, and today’s announcement marks a significant step towards a greener, more sustainable future for Scotland and the whole UK. Once up and running, CO2 emissions saved through this station alone will be the equivalent of taking 60 million cars off the road every year.”

Situated on Scotland’s east coast, the Peterhead site in Aberdeenshire is ideally placed for carbon capture technology, with access to essential CO2 transport and storage infrastructure being developed through the well-advanced Acorn Project. The Acorn CO2 Storage Site, which will be used by the Acorn Project to safely store CO2, is located about 100km offshore in rock formations deep below the North Sea.

Projects like Peterhead would potentially stimulate the development of CO2 transport and storage infrastructure across Scotland, into which other energy and industrial emitters can then connect to capture and store their emissions. This will accelerate Scotland’s transition to a net zero economy while safeguarding vital Scottish industries and ensuring a just transition for workers and communities.

The Peterhead CCS Power Station project is in the development stage and final investment decisions will depend on the progress of the necessary business models and associated infrastructure. The new station could come online by 2026.

Stephen Wheeler, managing director of SSE Thermal, said: “Through cutting-edge carbon capture technology, we can decarbonise this vital flexible power generation, as well as heavy industry and other hard-to-reach-sectors of the economy, which will be crucial in Scotland transitioning to a net zero future. Ahead of the critical COP26 conference in Glasgow this year, there is a clear opportunity to demonstrate leadership on CCS, maximising the benefits of a green recovery in industrial regions, and ensuring a just transition for workers and communities.”