UK Government attempts to secure millions of Euros worth of financial support for a proposed coal-fired power station at Hunterston in Ayrshire have been challenged by environmental groups today (Tuesday 10 May).
Says a spokesperson: “WWF Scotland, Friends of the Earth Scotland and RSPB Scotland warned that the UK Government’s decision to submit the proposal as one of its 12 bids to a European fund worth around EUR4.5 billion – to support carbon capture and storage (CCS) and renewable projects – could undermine Scotland’s desire to move away from polluting fossil fuels toward cleaner renewable energy sources.”
The environmental groups said that the proposed Hunterston power station would only capture a small fraction of its emissions and result in a net increase in Scotland’s carbon emissions.
WWF Scotland’s Climate Policy Officer, Dr Sam Gardner said:
“The UK Government’s decision to submit the Hunterston coal plant for millions in European funding ignores the new SNP Government’s manifesto pledge to avoid new coal.
“A new polluting power plant would undermine Scotland’s ambitions to secure a low carbon economy while at the same time destroying an important wildlife site.
“The Hunterston coal proposal is not part of Scotland’s renewable future and risks diverting possible investment away from cleaner sources of energy where real economic opportunities are to be found.
“Funding should instead be given to the other schemes listed for Scotland that would deliver real reductions in emissions.”
Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Parliamentary and Policy officer, Francis Stuart, said:
“It’s deeply disappointing that the Hunterston proposal is included in the list of projects seeking public money from the EU.
“We already know, not least from the 16,000 objectors to the application, that this new coal power station is vigorously opposed by the local community, would make a mockery of Scotland’s climate change targets and would divert investment from renewables.
“We also know that it’s not needed for security of supply.
RSPB Scotland’s head of Planning and Development, Aedán Smith, said:
“The proposal at Hunterston would directly damage an important wildlife site, one of the most important inter-tidal habitats on the outer Clyde, and would result in unacceptable and unnecessary additional greenhouse gas emissions, representing a backwards step in Scotland’s path to a decarbonised future.
“Scotland has enormous renewable energy potential, therefore we should be investing in clean, green, renewable technology in appropriate locations alongside improved energy efficiency measures and facilitating demand reduction, not developing new, polluting coal fired power stations.”
A coalition of local and national organisations are campaigning against the Hunterston proposal.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
 Cutting-edge UK energy projects in running for EU funding.
Department of Energy and Climate Change media release.
EU funding for up to three low carbon energy projects in the UK came a step closer today.
The Government has submitted 12 applications from UK projects to the European Investment Bank (EIB) for consideration in the next round of the EU’s New Entrant Reserve (NER) scheme – a fund worth around EUR4.5 billion to support carbon capture and storage (CCS) and innovative renewable projects across the European Union. Up to three projects may be supported per Member State.
 The SNP manifesto states: “The policy statement also makes clear that increased renewable generation means we now see no energy need for additional thermal generation plants.”
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