Councillors in Aberdeenshire are being urged to reject proposals for a new gas-fired power station at Peterhead.
Environmental campaigners Friends of the Earth Scotland have made the plea, calling the planned SSE station an expansion of “Scotland’s biggest climate polluter”.
It comes ahead of a meeting of the council’s Infrastructure Committee this week, which will scrutinise and vote on SSE’s plans to build an extra 910MW fossil fuel plant at the site of a pre-existing power station.
The energy giant was previously forced by SEPA to admit the additional power station at the site would increase climate-damaging pollution.
Campaigners claim that the existing Peterhead power station spews out over a million tonnes of climate harming gases annually, and has been “the single most polluting site in Scotland” for several years.
Friends of the Earth Scotland climate campaigner Alex Lee said: “The climate crisis means that the Peterhead fossil gas plant must be stopped.
“New fossil fuel infrastructure only benefits greedy energy firms and those companies who want to keep us hooked on oil and gas for decades to come. Scotland’s biggest polluter cannot be allowed to get even worse.
“Scottish Government ministers will have the final say on whether to cancel this project but councillors this week can throw a real spanner in the works by formally objecting to this application.”
While the final vote on whether the proposal goes ahead or not rests with the Scottish Government, local authorities are important consultees during the planning process.
“Local councillors have an opportunity and a responsibility to interrogate the claims of the developers of this climate-wrecking project,” Lee said.
“The whole plan is to be built on the rotten foundations of carbon capture, which is a technology with a long, inglorious history of repeated failures.”
The group has asked councillors interrogate the planning application’s use of the controversial carbon capture technology which developers claim will be added to the project later.
It added that there is currently no carbon capture project working at scale in the UK, and the 90% level of carbon capture the planning application claims it will meet has never been achieved anywhere in the world.
Lee concluded: “Local representatives have a chance to send a clear message that the future of the north east of Scotland must be built on good green jobs, renewable energy and putting the needs of workers and communities at the very heart of transition planning.”
A spokesperson for SSE Thermal said: “Carbon capture technology will be essential to decarbonising the power system on the way to net zero. Both the Scottish and UK Government recognise that, with the latter recently outlining plans to invest £20bn in CCUS over the next 20 years.
“As the UK’s only flexible power station north of Leeds, decarbonising Peterhead is of the utmost importance which is why we continue to progress plans for the new Peterhead Carbon Capture Power Station, which would provide vital backup to renewables while being low-carbon in its own right.
“The new plant, which would connect into the wider CCS infrastructure being developed by UK Government, will ultimately replace the existing station, which we have already said we don’t foresee running unabated beyond the end of this decade.
“This will deliver huge emissions reductions and the reality is the project will not proceed unless it can capture at least 90% of emissions. Indeed, we are working to secure even higher capture rates.
“Currently, the project is in the planning process and as part of that we continue to liaise with a range of stakeholders. Ultimately, Peterhead Carbon Capture Power Station will help to keep the lights on, facilitate the transition to net zero and create jobs in the region.”