Carbon capture projects could create 5,000 jobs

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MORE than 5,000 green Scottish jobs could be created through the construction and operation of three Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) demonstration projects, Scottish Enterprise (SE) research revealed last week.

Announced at Scotland’s largest low carbon energy conference, All Energy, findings have been revealed from an in-depth study into the economic impact potential of the proposed CCS developments at Peterhead, Longannet and Hunterston.

The proposed facilities, if fully developed, will test and demonstrate the technical and commercial aspects of CCS technology to then allow the deployment of CCS in existing and new fossil fuel power plants to dramatically reduce Scotland’s carbon emissions.

Adrian Gillespie, senior director of energy and low carbon technologies, Scottish Enterprise, said: “CCS is acknowledged as having an important role to play in supporting Scotland’s ambitious emission reduction targets, however, to become commercially viable, demonstration projects such as the three proposed Scottish projects are critical.

“The far-reaching impacts revealed in this study underline the potential of carbon capture and storage, not only in long term economic and environmental terms but also in the shorter term, delivering significant immediate benefits for the Scottish economy.

“We want to see a number of CCS demonstration projects developed in Scotland and are working with our partners in industry, in the UK Government and in Europe to help make that happen. Scotland stands well placed to offer demonstration opportunities in coal, gas, new build and retrofitting to existing stations.”

Key findings of the study include:

Up to 4,600 direct and indirect jobs during construction phase to 2020 with a further 454 operational jobs supported during the operational lifetime of the demonstration facilities.

Up to £2.75 billion of Gross Valued Added (GVA) for the Scottish economy during construction with an additional £535 million per annum over their operational lifetime.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Our capacity to store carbon emissions offshore is the largest in the European Union and greater than that of the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark combined. Only last week no fewer than three Scottish CCS demonstration proposals were submitted to the EU New Entrants Reserve, demonstrating the high level of ambition in Scotland.

“As well as the generation and carbon storage capacity that we have been endowed with by nature, we have an excellent base in science and engineering to ensure we exploit the immense potential of CCS. It is essential that the UK’s Electricity Market Reform provide a firm basis for CCS investment into the future.”

Scotland is recognised to have a competitive advantage in CCS and the potential to become a global leader in field by building on the country’s storage capacity in the North Sea, skills and supply chain strengths from the existing oil and gas sector and world leading industrial research and academic capabilities.

Early adoption of CCS technology could help to safeguard the future employment for many of the 150,000 currently working in Scotland’s offshore industry.

The wider economic opportunities for the development of a CCS-based industry are considerable and a whole new industry could emerge in Scotland. It has been estimated in separate research that CCS could support up to 13,000 new jobs by 2025, including exporting Scottish based skills and technology across the world.