Ayrshire Power Limited (APL), the company which submitted a planning application for a new multi-fuel power station with carbon capture and storage at Hunterston, North Ayrshire, has announced that it is withdrawing its planning application and withdrawing from the current CCS demonstration project funding competitions.
APL has taken this decision due to the level of uncertainty surrounding the ability to secure the necessary financial investment to build the power station in the foreseeable economic climate.
The decision means that the Public Local Inquiry for the development will not now proceed this autumn.
Hunterston, Scotland’s largest coal terminal, remains a strategically important facility for Scotland, especially as part of the Scottish Government’s low carbon energy policy combining unrivalled deepwater port facilities and direct access to the UK’s rail network via the development’s bespoke railhead. Over 500 direct and indirect jobs are dependent on the site.
Commenting on the decision, Muir Miller, APL’s project director said:
“Whilst we believe we have a strong case to succeed in the planning inquiry, we cannot proceed with the significant risk that the current power station design and fuel mix could not be funded and built in the necessary timetable following the grant of consent.
“However, we remain convinced that this project could give Scotland a superb opportunity to lead the development of full-scale carbon capture and storage, which will be vital in reducing global emissions and accords with Scottish Government policy to cut carbon emission and back-up intermittent renewable energy supplies.
“The project would also bring a large number of new jobs and new economic opportunities to a hard-pressed area which has been impacted particularly badly by the recession. The opportunity to develop a CCS cluster on the west coast of the UK that could store over one billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2050 remains an exciting prospect.
“We still believe that new coal-fired power stations fitted with carbon capture and storage will play an important part in plugging the energy gap until alternative sources of low carbon energy can replace fossil fuels. Hunterston remains an ideal location for such a power station. However, the timing of the economic slowdown and funding uncertainty have not worked in our favour. We will now take some time to consider our options and determine under what circumstances we will revisit our proposals.”