On 19 October 2011, the UK government confirmed reports that the pioneering ₤1 billion Longannet CCS project had been scrapped, after a deal over public funding could not be reached with the Scottish-Power led consortium behind the proposals.
Scottish Power had been planning to convert the Longannet power plant in Fife, Scotland, to clean coal technology and - after the withdrawal of E.ON's Kingsnorth proposal - had been the last remaining participant in the first phase of the UK Government’s competition to develop a commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) project.
Longannet is the third largest coal-fired power station in Europe, generating 2400 MW of electricity. It is located on the upper Firth of Forth, close to the Central North Sea – an area that the best science shows is ideally suited to CO2 storage.
The consortium included Aker Clean Carbon, Shell UK Limited (Shell), Marathon Oil and National Grid. The consortium is currently operating a 1 MW carbon capture prototype at Longannet, which was installed in May 2009 and has run for more than 3000 hours. Scottish Power is the only energy company in the UK that is capturing carbon on a working coal-fired power station.
The hope had been for an eventual commercial-scale unit that would have captured up to 90% of CO2 emissions from one 300MW unit at Longannet.
Partner Aker Clean Carbon is responsible for the capture technology. National Grid is the owner and operator of the UK’s gas pipeline system and has expertise in high-pressure pipelines. Edinburgh University would have assisted in the identification of long-term storage in sub-sea rocks.
Funding and timescale
The Longannet consortium has released details of the FEED study with the aim of informing other projects worldwide. The UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change is still committed to investing up to £1 billion on CCS projects within the UK, and has launched a second phase of its competition.
The UK's Committee on Climate Change issued its 2011 progress report on 30 June. In its key findings, it stated that a final funding decision for Longannet was an urgent priority.
In May 2011, Longannet was one of 13 CCS projects submitted to the European Union's NER300 scheme – a €4.5 billion fund to support CCS and renewable projects across the European Union.