ACT Acorn
Graphic: ACT Acorn project
Scotland’s bid to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2045 will take a major step forward today with the signing of a groundbreaking agreement between the Scottish Government and the North East Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage Alliance (NECCUS).

Led by Scotland’s energy minister, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, the high-level meeting has been called to commit NECCUS to driving forward the country’s decarbonisation programme by enabling the capture of carbon dioxide emissions by major industrial emitters, first from Scotland and later from across the UK so that they can be stored safely and permanently in rock formations deep under the North Sea.

NECCUS is an alliance of industry, Government bodies and academics, including the SCCS research partnership. Its vision will be enabled by the Acorn CCS project, based at the St Fergus gas terminal near Peterhead. Its developers, Pale Blue Dot Energy, expect it to be fully operational by 2024 with the subsequent scale-up ensuring Scotland can both meet its carbon reduction target and provide global leadership in this innovative work.

NECCUS recently appointed veteran oil and gas and renewable energy expert Mike Smith to lead the programme. Commenting on the plans, he said:

We’ve made great progress with wind and solar renewable technologies over the last 10 years. The time is now right to continue the energy transition by addressing the hard to decarbonise sectors like heat, heavy industry, transport, and chemicals. through the deployment of CCUS and hydrogen production with CCS. NECCUS, with its unrivalled support from all sectors of industry, academia and Government, is now set to do just that.

Prof Stuart Haszeldine, SCCS Director, said:

In Scotland we are creating a business, which can lead on developing carbon capture and storage, with real projects operating by 2024 that will permanently store CO2 deep beneath the North Sea. Scotland has unique advantages. Nowhere else has offshore sites with around 200 years’ worth of storage, available pipelines to transport CO2, the geological knowledge to store CO2 at low cost and the skilled workforce to transition from oil and gas extraction.

Carbon storage creates a new industry that is part of Scotland’s world-leading ambition to become a country with net zero emissions by 2045. For the economy, this means industries and businesses staying profitable and retaining tens of thousands of high-value jobs while decarbonising their operations and avoiding costly carbon taxes.

For households this could mean heating our homes with hydrogen rather than natural gas. For transport, it means trucks, buses, vans, ferries and trains running on hydrogen, removing both CO2 and particulates from our air. A net zero future is within our grasp.

 (This news story is an edited version of the NECCUS alliance press release circulated on 26 November 2019)

NECCUS Alliance signing Holyrood 26.11.19
Paul Wheelhouse (seated, second from left), Scotland's Energy Minister, with members of the NECCUS Alliance at the official charter signing, Holyrood, November 2019

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