Scottish business leaders have written to the Prime Minister urging the UK Government to add the Scottish Cluster as part of the Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) Track 1 programme.
This follows the UK Government’s decision last week to allocate the Acorn Project as a ‘reserve’ bid.
The letter is co-signed by senior representatives of Energy Transition Zone (ETZ), OGUK, Opportunity North East, CBI Scotland, IoD Scotland, Net Zero Technology Centre, Scottish Chambers of Commerce and the Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce.
Sir Ian Wood, chairman of ETZ, said: “We remain very disappointed at the decision of the UK Government not to approve the Scottish Cluster as part of the CCS track 1 programme.
“The letter today highlights a range of crucial areas that we believe were not considered as part of the evaluation process when the cluster ‘competition’ was launched but are now in scope.
“The prioritisation of shipping, proximity of the Scottish cluster to hydrogen generation and the huge capability of Direct Air Capture all significantly enhance the Acorn bid.”
He continued: “We urge the UK Government to consider these issues carefully and add a third bid, the Scottish Cluster, to its Track 1 programme.
“The two successful bids are of high quality and will contribute significantly to this aim but to be serious about urgent decarbonisation, we must go faster and further.
“A third active cluster in the UK will contribute significantly to economic growth, net zero, job creation and export of products, services and expertise to other evolving industrial clusters around the world.”
The letter added that the UK Government have said clearly that the Scottish Cluster meets the eligibility requirements and is performing to a good standard against the evaluation criteria.
“The excellent team behind Acorn must remain committed to delivering the project, but right now must be clearly discouraged by a loss of access to direct public funding and the associated delay in developing it as a ‘reserve’,” it read.
The Acorn project, driven energy giants Shell, Storegga and Harbour Energy, hopes to offer a transition route for oil and gas workers out of the old North Sea industries and create as many as 26,000 jobs in the next decade.
Based at the St Fergus gas terminal, near Peterhead, the plan is to use North Sea pipelines to store carbon dioxide under the North Sea.
Don’t miss the latest headlines with our twice-daily newsletter – sign up here for free.