Campaign launched to save Peterhead Power Station

Dr Eilidh Whiteford outside Peterhead Power Station
Dr Eilidh Whiteford outside Peterhead Power Station

A campaign has been launched to protect the future of Peterhead Power Station after a question mark was put over the facility’s future.

SSE revealed in February that there was uncertainty over long-term plans for the plant.

It follows the UK Government's decision to scrap plans for Carbon Capture and Storage, which would have secured the future of Peterhead Power Station, and protected jobs.

The facility currently employs around 90 people on the outskirts of the town.

Now the SNP’s Banff and Buchan candidate Eilidh Whiteford has launched a campaign calling for people to support efforts to retain the site.

The SNP candidate is calling for Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) plans to be revived, as well as asking for unfair transmission charges that make Peterhead less competitive than similar plants elsewhere, to be changed.

The site is expected to pay £19.60 per kilowatt in transmission charges, whereas a similar gas-fired power station in Kent would pay only £1.75.

Plans had been in place to give Peterhead Power Station a new lease of life, with studies completed by oil major Shell into developing carbon capture and storage.

The move comes as the UK continues to import more gas to the country as Centrica’s North Sea Rough storage remains offline.

Experts have warned of a “gas crisis” for the UK in coming years amid complex policy framework and the uncertainty of Brexit.

Both SNP Shadow Energy spokesman Callum McCaig and Banff and Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford wrote to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to raise their concerns earlier this year.

Eilidh Whiteford said: “The development of CCS technology at Peterhead would have been a landmark first for Scotland, providing hundreds of jobs for the local economy and developing low-carbon technology."

“The Tories have put the future job security of the workforce in jeopardy by abandoning CCS, and are continuing to penalise the facility further with unfair transmission charges.

“The UK will be heavily reliant on gas for many years to come, and it makes no sense to jeopardise Scotland's last remaining gas power station.

"Peterhead could have been a world leader in CCS, which reduces the environmental impact of fossil fuels, and would have protected local jobs.

"CCS will be needed in the future, and Peterhead remains the ideal place, with a small scale project recently launched at St Fergus, but the bigger opportunity for a full scale project is still there, and I will be pressing for plans for CCS to be revived.

"In the meantime, we have a transmission charge regime that makes it difficult for Peterhead to compete, even though gas comes ashore nearby at St Fergus. A more equitable transmission charge regime would help secure the plant's future."