Scottish ‘clean coal’ power station delayed
The plans for a proposed power plant, fired by ‘clean coal’, have been held up after a record number of complaints were lodged, with Scottish ministers expected to issue a public inquiry into the methods used at the plant. Alex Blackburne reports.
Extracted and burned in its raw form, coal is the dirtiest and most harmful of all the fossil fuels. ‘Clean coal’ on the other hand, is another, more controversial, matter.
Produced using a range of technologies that reduce the environmental damage created by regular coal, critics have dubbed ‘clean coal’ a climate saviour and a false messiah in the same sentence.
This is because coal contributes some 27% of global energy (47% in China, 2009) so to make this clean would have a massive impact on carbon emissions. That said, none of the current technology provides a guaranteed success and removes investment from renewable alternatives.
Now plans have been put on hold to build the UK’s first clean coal-fired power station in Hunterston, Scotland. This is after the company behind it received a record number of complaints. Scottish ministers are set to launch an inquiry, meaning the project could be stalled for at least a year.
Ayrshire Power describe their project as, “A new state-of-the-art power station that would deliver electricity to up to three million Scottish homes and create up to 1,600 jobs at the peak of construction and at least 160 permanent jobs.“
Mike Claydon, project manager for Ayrshire Power Ltd, said that whilst they were “disappointed at the outcome of [the] meeting, it [was] not entirely unexpected“.
Claydon added, “Our plans for Hunterston would deliver Scotland’s first new coal-fired power station for more than 40 years so it is, perhaps, not surprising that such a major development has attracted objections.”
The project at Hunterston would be making a “major contribution“, according to Claydon, to finding new ways of producing cleaner energy.
Claydon said, “With around 25% of the UK’s ageing fleet of power stations due to close over the next 15 years, the Hunterston project represents a major contribution to the expected generating capacity shortfall which is likely to result if these facilities are not replaced and consumption continues to rise as is predicted.
“Without new generating capacity, electricity supplies may be compromised and energy bills would rise even faster and with them fuel poverty.”
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Photo credit: Paul Jerry.
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