The UK Government has announced it will hold a new £20million competition to develop carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.
Bids will be invited from researchers able to assist with the creation of cheaper components and systems for the pioneering green energy.
The contest, announced last night by Energy Secretary Ed Davey, is in addition to the Westminster coalition’s wider £1billion fund to develop CCS.
A pilot scheme based at Peterhead Power Station is considered a front-runner for a slice of the money after the collapse of a similar project at Longannet in Fife.
Mr Davey said: “Carbon capture and storage will play a vital role in ensuring we develop a low-carbon energy mix.
“We are helping to create a new industry in the UK and are well placed to become a world leader.
“The UK’s first carbon-capture pilot, opened at Ferrybridge (in West Yorkshire) last year, is an early example of what CCS means in terms of jobs and growth. More than 20 UK-based companies provided parts and services to the project.
“By supporting pilot-scale innovation projects, this £20million competition is an important step towards making cost-competitive CCS a reality by the 2020s.”
Banff and Buchan SNP MP Eilidh Whiteford said: “While I welcome the government’s announcement, there must be no more delays to the competition process.
“Scotland has some of Europe’s largest carbon-storage reserves in our North Sea oil and gas fields, combined with the expertise on how to access them.
“This project would put Peterhead at the cutting edge of carbon-capture technology.
” The UK Government must now recognise the very strong case which exists for this project going ahead and the investment it will bring to the north-east of Scotland.”
Labour’s shadow energy minister, Tom Greatrex, said: “The announcement of £20million funding is welcome, and will hopefully help develop the skills and innovation needed for the UK to become a world leader in CCS.
“But this can’t mask the fact that the government has dithered and delayed on the £1billion for commercial scale CCS development.
“Unless the government gets its act together, there is a risk of the UK getting left behind on CCS.”