Labour has accused the UK Government of failing to show the leadership needed to drive forward a ground-breaking green technology.
Shadow Energy Minister Tom Greatrex said carbon capture and storage (CCS) was “essential” for the UK’s future, and should not be treated like an “optional extra” by the Westminster coalition.
A CCS project at Peterhead is a preferred bidder for a £1billion government competition to develop the technology, which is viewed as vital to cutting harmful carbon emissions.
Experts told MPs this week that the potential for capturing much of Europe’s carbon and storing it in depleted North Sea fields could be as lucrative for the north-east as oil and gas.
But Mr Greatrex said yesterday that the government was not developing CCS with sufficient urgency, following a series of delays and set-backs in the process.
“Carbon capture and storage is not an optional extra. It is an essential part of our future,” he said.
“All of the modelling on our energy is undertaken on the basis that we can get CCS up and running. That includes the figures coming from the government.
“But they are doing not doing enough to make it happen.
“The government has gone silent on CCS, allowing existing projects to wither on the vine, and failing to demonstrate any leadership whatsoever.
“CCS is a technology with the scientific and financial backing to make it work – but there is no real champion for CCS in government.
“It is the government that has to take the blame for the narrowing of ambition on CCS in the last three years.”