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CCS Project Scapped: Another Green Energy Fiasco

Plans for a carbon capture project at Longannet in Fife have been scrapped, the energy secretary has confirmed.

Chris Huhne announced the failure to seal a deal for the scheme to capture carbon dioxide emissions and pipe them under the sea.

Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed the problems in the Commons earlier.

Mr Cameron was responding to a question from Labour’s energy spokesman Tom Greatrex, urging the UK government to save the project.

The prime minister said government money was still on offer, thought to be about £1bn, but revealed the doubts about the scheme.

Later, Mr Huhne said that despite all parties working hard it had not been possible to reach a deal and the project would not be proceeding.

The consortium behind the project is led by Scottish Power.

Longannet, which is the UK’s second largest coal-fired power station and Europe’s third largest, is among the biggest polluters in the country.

It produces energy for two million people and emits between seven million and eight million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) a year.

The carbon capture scheme hoped to pump emissions from Longannet into storage in rocks under the North Sea.

A year ago, the Longannet project became the only entrant in a CCS competition run by the UK government for £1bn of funding, after energy giant E.On dropped plans for a plant at its proposed Kingsnorth power station in Kent.

In June, Scottish Power and its partners National Grid and Shell UK announced plans to create an onshore pipeline carrying up to two million tonnes of CO2 as part of the CCS scheme to pump emissions from Longannet to the North Sea.

Responding to Mr Greatrex during Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Cameron said: “The funding that we set aside for carbon capture and storage is still there, that funding will be made available.

“Clearly the Longannet scheme isn’t working in the way they intended but the money from the government, the support from the government, for this vital technology, is there.”

BBC News, 19 October 2011