Back to overview

Major boost for SSE Thermal's carbon capture ambitions in Scotland

31 Jul 2023

SSE’s carbon capture ambitions in Scotland received a major boost today after the UK Government announced its backing for the Scottish Cluster.

The Acorn Project, which underpins the Scottish Cluster, had been in ‘reserve’ status since late 2021 but has now been officially named as a Track 2 Cluster.

That will progress the development of the transport and storage infrastructure required to deliver vital carbon capture projects in the north-east of Scotland.

SSE Thermal has set out plans to decarbonise its existing site in Peterhead, which plays a crucial role in Scotland's electricity system as the only plant of its type north of Leeds.

Together with Equinor, SSE Thermal is developing Peterhead Carbon Capture Power Station which is a key project within the Scottish Cluster and would ultimately replace the existing station.

The proposed plant, which would connect into the Scottish Cluster’s transport and storage network, could become Scotland’s first flexible power station with carbon capture technology. Planning is already underway for the project.

With a generating capacity of up to 910MW, Peterhead Carbon Capture Power Station would capture up to 1.5MT of carbon annually, which represents around five per cent of the UK Government’s 2030 target.

According to a report commissioned from BiGGAR Economics, the new development would contribute £60m to the Aberdeen City and Shire economy during development and construction, with 980 years of employment supported. Over the station’s operational lifetime, it is estimated that around £25m would be added to the wider Aberdeen economy each year, with around 240 jobs supported on an annual basis.

In addition, Viking CCS in the Humber has also been named as a Track 2 Cluster. The Humber is a key strategic location for SSE Thermal, with several low-carbon projects in development. That includes Keadby 3 Carbon Capture Power Station, being developed in collaboration with Equinor, which is the UK's only power CCS project with planning consent.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, Chief Executive of SSE, said:

“Carbon capture will play a critical role not only in decarbonising the UK’s power system but also in unlocking economic growth and boosting our energy security, and today’s announcement marks a major step forward in its deployment. We know how important it is that the north-east of Scotland is decarbonised and the decision to support the Scottish Cluster shows that there is commitment to doing so.

“Time remains of the essence. Now, we must move quickly to deploy the transport and storage infrastructure which will underpin the rollout of CCS across the Scottish Cluster. Doing so will allow crucial low-carbon projects – such as our carbon capture project at Peterhead - to be brought forward, supporting the energy transition while providing good, green jobs and enhancing the regional economy. The UK has a real opportunity to lead the world on carbon capture if we can accelerate progress and today's announcement provides welcome impetus."