Peterhead power station has been unveiled as the site of the world's first gas-fired CCS project

Scottish power station to be world's first gas-fired CCS project

The world's first gas-fired carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility will be built in Scotland, as part of a £100m investment in the technology.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey has insisted it is not being unveiled as a bribe to persuade Scots to reject independence, after saying an independent Scotland would find it "more difficult to proceed" with the project.

He confirmed Peterhead as the location for the facility, which goes alongside previously-announced plans for a coal-fired version in Yorkshire. The project will see harmful carbon dioxide emissions from Peterhead Power Station buried under the North Sea.

But Davey predicted that outside of the UK, future variations in oil and gas prices would also leave Scotland's finances "very seriously" exposed as measures were set out to better exploit remaining North Sea reserves.

Denying it was a bribe to Scots to vote "no" in September, Davey told the BBC Radio 4 'Today' programme: "That's not what I am saying.

"I am in charge of UK energy and climate change policy. We are not preparing for independence; we are pursuing our policies as if the UK is going to stay together. And with the UK staying together, we need to tackle climate change, we need to invest in low-carbon projects.

"It is just a fact that if Scotland was to vote for independence... it would be more difficult because it would be more expensive."

Speaking ahead of a meeting of the UK Cabinet in Aberdeen as the referendum debate switched focus to energy, Davey said a review into better exploiting North Sea oil and gas reserves "does play into the independence debate".

"Scotland would be very reliant on oil and gas revenue and, with the oil price being so volatile, with decline in North Sea revenues, I think that would expose the finances, the public spending of Scotland very seriously," he said.

"What we are showing today in the Wood Review is that Westminster will manage the oil and gas reserves that the UK has in a far more effective way and that's great for Scotland.

"Scotland has benefited from North Sea oil, let's be clear about this. It is the third booming region in the UK. After London and the south east, Scotland is doing incredibly well, as part of the UK."

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "Demonstrating carbon capture on this existing gas power station would enable us to test the technology and cut emissions from our energy sector while we transition to a renewable future.

"Scotland is rich in renewable sources of energy and going forward could have a secure electricity supply without any need for fossil fuel power.

"However, as we transition to a 100 per cent renewable future, Scotland is also well placed to develop and test CCS – a potentially important global technology. It's great to hear that we might be about to start turning this opportunity into a reality."

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