Ayrshire Power Limited (APL) announced on 26 June 2012 that it had shelved proposals to build and operate a new 1600 MW multi-fuel power station at Hunterston, in North Ayrshire. It also confirmed that it had withdrawn its application for funding from the UK's ₤1 billion CCS Commercialisation Programme.
The company had been awaiting planning consent from the Scottish Government for its plans to build the plant on a site between the existing Clydeport coal-handling facility and Hunterston B nuclear power station. The project was to go to a second public inquiry in the autumn of 2012 but this has now been cancelled. In January 2012, the operator of the nearby Hunterston nuclear plant raised safety concerns about the siting of the new power station.
In December 2010, APL announced the formation of a consortium of key CCS players to develop the capture and storage elements of the project. This group comprises Doosan Power Systems, Fluor Limited and Petrofac. Doosan will design, build and commission the carbon capture plant, while Fluor will focus on engineering services for the CO2 pipeline. Petrofac, through its CCS subsidiary CO2DeepStore, will develop CO2 storage concepts in the East Irish Sea (see Storage below).
The power station, which has been designed by DONG Energy, would have burned both coal and biomass to produce up to 1852 MW of electricity. APL aimed to include commercial-scale demonstration CCS technology, which would have removed about 25% of CO2 emissions from the start of operations. The company had committed to installing full CCS within five years - with 90% capture capacity - if the technology was proven to be technically and commercially viable.
The current plans dealt only with onsite carbon capture infrastructure, with the remaining offshore elements of the chain – transportation and storage – to be covered by future applications, if the project had gone ahead.
The development included two operating power units of 926MW capacity each, and a demonstration carbon capture unit with associated gas transfer plant. Coal and biomass supplies would have been delivered to the Clydeport coal-handling facility, and by-products removed from the site using existing rail networks. The coal was to be sourced from a variety of locations including South Africa, Columbia, Russia and the US.
The plant design had two power island units, each with a maximum 926 MW gross output, and a supercritical boiler and steam turbine. The site included space for developing full CCS.
APL planned to use a DeNOx plant to capture nitrous dioxides from flue gases, and a desulphurisation plant to capture sulphur dioxide, with the same technology being used for post-combustion CO2 capture. At the start of operations, the company expected to capture CO2 from flue gases equivalent to 400MW of gross power generation.
Peel and its partners Doosan Power Systems, Fluor Ltd and offshore infrastructure and storage operator CO2DeepStore submitted a bid through the UK government to the European Union's NER 300 fund in May 2011. Read ZERO's news article. Peel had also applied to the UK's CCS Commercialisation Programme for funding but this has since been withdrawn.
Ayrshire Power submitted its planning application for the multi-fuel plant to the Scottish Government on 2 June 2010. A formal public consultation was conducted in 2010, with plans attracting 22,000 objections. The development was estimated to take up to four years to build and a further two years to commission.
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In March 2011, a CO2 storage study by Eunomia - commissioned by the Hunterston project partners - identified depleted gas fields below the East Irish Sea, which could potentially be used to store decades of CO2 emissions from the UK and Ireland, including from the new Hunterston power plant.