Scottish Gov Offers $100MM+ in Acorn Funding
The Scottish government has announced that financial backing of up to $108.7 million (GBP 80 million) is being offered to help the Scottish Cluster carbon capture project, also known as Acorn, accelerate its effort to help Scotland’s “just” transition to net zero.
The government outlined that the funding is being proposed to help work with UK government support to develop three carbon capture and storage clusters for the price of two and grant the Scottish Cluster clear and definitive Track-1 status in its carbon capture sequencing process. The Scottish government noted that the investment would come from its emerging energy technologies fund.
“The UK government’s decision not to award the Scottish Cluster clear and definitive Track-1 status is a serious mistake which shows a clear lack of ambition and leadership on climate change,” Scottish Energy Secretary Michael Matheson said in a government statement.
“Delaying or halting the deployment of the Scottish Cluster has serious consequences, including jeopardizing the industrial decarbonization of Scotland and our just transition to net zero, creating an unlevel playing field across the UK, and endangering Scottish and UK-wide net zero targets,” he added in the statement.
“That is why I am announcing today that we stand ready with up to GBP 80 million [$108.7 million] of funding to help the Scottish Cluster continue and accelerate the deployment of carbon capture technology,” Matheson continued.
The Scottish Energy Secretary highlighted that the Scottish government does not hold all the necessary legislative and regulatory levers needed to support the Scottish Cluster, as they are not devolved.
“We cannot simply go it alone with our funding,” he said.
“Our offer of support is therefore made on the basis that the Scottish Cluster is given certainty of its due status within the UK sequencing process, and I once again urge the UK government to provide this certainty for the benefit of our energy sector and for our ability to deliver a just transition to net zero,” he added.
Industry body Oil & Gas UK (OGUK) noted on Tuesday how key the Acorn and many more future carbon capture and storage cluster projects are to the UK’s ability to achieve its target of net zero emissions by 2050.
OGUK highlighted that Acorn was classed as a reserve project for the Track 1 carbon capture cluster projects given the go-ahead for deployment in the mid-2020s by the UK government last October. The Track 1 clusters confirmed were Hynet and the East Coast cluster, OGUK pointed out, adding that there are several other carbon capture cluster projects currently in development and scheduled to be put forward for Track 2 of the UK government’s plan.
“In accelerating these carbon capture projects, the UK is laying a key part of the infrastructure for its net zero future,” OGUK Sustainability Director Mike Tholen said in an OGUK statement.
“It is a crucial first step but scale is essential if the UK is to make itself carbon neutral by 2050 … We look forward to Acorn and other carbon capture projects joining Hynet and the East Coast cluster in ensuring we can generate sufficient energy to keep the country functioning, with homes heated and schools and hospitals powered, but in a way that helps us meet our climate goals and Paris Agreement commitments,” Tholen added in the statement.
Based at the St Fergus gas terminal in North East Scotland, Acorn carbon capture and storage can repurpose existing gas pipelines to take CO2 directly to the Acorn CO2 storage site, according to the project’s website. With this pipeline infrastructure already in place, Acorn can get started using existing CO2 emissions captured directly from the gas processing units at the St Fergus gas terminal, the project’s website highlights.
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