Responding to today’s announcement by North Ayrshire Council on the Hunterston project, Mike Claydon, project manager for Ayrshire Power Ltd (APL), said:
“While we are disappointed at the outcome of today’s meeting, it is not entirely unexpected, and we remain determined to progress our application through the planning process.
“Our plans for Hunterston would deliver Scotland’s first new coal-fired power station for more than 40 years so it is, perhaps, not surprising that such a major development has attracted objections.
“The Ayrshire Power project represents a significant economic opportunity for Scotland and, in particular, for North Ayrshire, and would attract in excess of £3 billion of investment, delivering hundreds of new jobs for the region and a range of other economic benefits.
“The successful development of Carbon Capture and Storage technology at Hunterston would enable Scotland to lead the world in the deployment of this essential capability and to secure the economic benefits that would result from it.
“With around 25% of the UK’s ageing fleet of power stations due to close over the next 15 years, the Hunterston project represents a major contribution to the expected generating capacity shortfall which is likely to result if these facilities are not replaced and consumption continues to rise as is predicted.
“Without new generating capacity, electricity supplies may be compromised and energy bills would rise even faster and with them fuel poverty.
“We believe the Ayrshire Power plan to be consistent with Scottish Government policy which calls for a diverse mix of electricity generating capacity, including coal fired power stations fitted with Carbon Capture and Storage, to ensure energy security and to provide backup to intermittent renewable sources.
“We remain 100% committed to delivering this project and we believe it is essential to ensuring the security of Scotland’s future energy supply.”
It is estimated that the proposed new plant at Hunterston could meet the electricity needs of up to 3 million homes. It would create a significant number of jobs in Scotland, including more than 100 professional engineering jobs in Renfrew, around 1,600 construction jobs in North Ayrshire at the peak of the construction phase and approximately 160 on an on-going basis once the plant is up and running. The new plant would require many hundreds of millions of pounds of CCS equipment, much of which could be procured in Scotland, representing a major opportunity for local suppliers.