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Research published yesterday has found that three proposed Scottish carbon capture and storage demonstration projects could be worth £3 billion to the national economy and generate 5,000 new jobs in construction and operation.
The findings, announced by Scottish Enterprise at Scotland's largest low carbon energy conference, All Energy, follow an in-depth study into the economic impact potential of the proposed CCS developments at Longannet, Peterhead and Hunterston.
The proposed facilities, if fully developed, will test and demonstrate the technical and commercial aspects of CCS technology to then allow the deployment of CCS in existing and new fossil fuel power plants to dramatically reduce Scotland's carbon emissions.
First Minister Alex Salmond welcomed the findings.
"Our capacity to store carbon emissions offshore is the largest in the European Union and greater than that of the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark combined. Only last week no fewer than three Scottish CCS demonstration proposals were submitted to the EU New Entrants Reserve, demonstrating the high level of ambition in Scotland. As well as the generation and carbon storage capacity that we have been endowed with by nature, we have an excellent base in science and engineering to ensure we exploit the immense potential of CCS. It is essential that the UK's Electricity Market Reform provides a firm basis for CCS investment into the future."
Key findings of the study include:
Up to 4,600 direct and indirect jobs during construction phase to 2020 with a further 454 operational jobs supported during the operational lifetime of the demonstration facilities
Up to £2.75 billion of Gross Valued Added (GVA) for the Scottish economy during construction with an additional £535 million over their operational lifetime
Adrian Gillespie, senior director of energy and low carbon technologies, Scottish Enterprise, said:
"CCS is acknowledged as having an important role to play in supporting Scotland's ambitious emission reduction targets, however, to become commercially viable, demonstration projects such as the three proposed Scottish projects are critical.
"The far reaching impacts revealed in this study underline the potential of carbon capture and storage, not only in long term economic and environmental terms but also in the shorter term, delivering significant immediate benefits for the Scottish economy.
"We want to see a number of CCS demonstration projects developed in Scotland and are working with our partners in industry, in the UK Government and in Europe to help make that happen. Scotland stands well placed to offer demonstration opportunities in coal, gas, new build and retrofitting to existing stations."
CCS technology could create thousands of new low carbon jobs in Scotland. Recent research has highlighted the vast storage potential of the North Sea as being of European-scale significance and the Moray Firth as having up to a century's worth of storage.