A POWERFUL committee of MPs has expressed “shock” at the UK Government’s decision to spend a £1billion fund which could be used to help a pioneering green energy project in the north-east.
Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has been asked a series of questions about the money set aside to develop carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.
Plans to create a CCS centre at Peterhead Power Station are considered a front-runner to receive a share of the funding, but it emerged this month that some of the money would be spent on other projects because it would not be needed during this parliament.
The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition has repeatedly insisted that the £1billion remains set aside to develop CCS, but that the timetable for spending the fund was delayed following the collapse of a scheme at Longannet, in Fife.
Tim Yeo, a Tory MP and chairman of the energy and climate change committee at Westminster, wrote to Mr Huhne to ask what the revised timetable would be to get CCS up and running.
He added: “My committee was shocked by reports that the £1billion set aside by the government to develop a carbon capture and storage demonstration project would be borrowed for other purposes, and little comforted by the Chancellor’s remarks in the debate on the autumn statement.”
Chancellor George Osborne said last week that the government “absolutely want to support” CCS technology and that it was still committed to the £1billion investment, but not on an “unrealistic timescale”.
Last night, Labour’s shadow energy Minister Tom Greatrex said: “The Tory chair of the energy and climate change select committee is right to join my call for clarity, given the uncertainty caused by the Treasury’s 11th-hour raid on the CCS budget.”