A leading Aberdeenshire Councillor, Democratic Independent and Green Group member, Paul Johnston welcomed the progress on the Moray Firth Renewables, offshore ‘Hywind’ turbine design off Peterhead and the massive Scotland Norway interconnector project.
“The real positive news for the North-east yesterday was progress on renewable energy projects together potentially powering up to 1.7 million homes.”
The interconnector would provide massive stability for Scottish renewable power generation by providing electricity for storage in Norwegian pumped hydro electric schemes.
“This is the cutting edge of renewable energy and if we are to have an Energetica corridor between Aberdeen and Peterhead, then it is projects like these that we should be excited about.”
Councilor Johnston was also supportive of the planning application for an experimental carbon capture and storage facility. Paul supported and seconded a move by Green councillor Martin Ford to clarify the Council’s position on CCS ( carbon capture and storage). The Aberdeenshire full council was determining a planning application for buildings and infrastructure at Peterhead Power Station needed to allow carbon capture and storage to be implemented for one of the Power Station’s gas turbines.
“CCS, at this stage anyway, should be viewed as an experimental lifebelt, better than nothing, but not something to rely on. The priority should be keeping our boat afloat, so please excuse me for not overly celebrating the development of an expensive item that only helps us when we are sunk.”
While supporting the planning application, which was in line with planning policy, Cllr Martin Ford moved an amendment to include a statement setting out concerns along with the decision in favour of the planning application. The wording Cllr Ford sought to have included was:
‘However, the Council notes:
1. That the possibility of CCS must not be allowed to divert Scotland from the opportunities presented by renewable energy.
2. That CCS may be useful as a temporary technology to reduce emissions as fossil fuels are replaced by renewable energy, but it must not be used as a justification for new fossil fuel generation.
3. That gas plant CCS retrofit is amongst the most costly options for carbon abatement, compared with energy efficiency measures or replacement renewable energy generation, so other measures to reduce carbon emissions are economically preferable and should be prioritised.’
Cllr Ford’s amendment was not accepted. However, after a number of councillors indicated support for points in Cllr Ford’s proposed amendment, the full council agreed that the issues raised by Cllr Ford would be the subject of a further report to councillors from Council officers.
Commenting, Cllr Ford said: “The full council took two good decisions on carbon capture and storage yesterday.
“First, it agreed the planning application for the CCS demonstration project at Peterhead Power Station. It’s always better to gain knowledge, to find out if something works, so giving the go-ahead for Peterhead was the right choice.
“Second, the Council agreed to examine the wider issues around CCS. That’s important too, because the technology carries risks for the drive to reduce carbon emissions, and we need to understand those to inform future choices.”