Boris Johnson has unveiled a multi-billion pound green industrial plan that could result in an emissions-busting project near Peterhead receiving a huge cash injection.
Under the prime minister’s 10-point plan, four carbon capture and storage “hubs” across the UK will receive a share of £1 billion, helping to support 50,000 jobs.
The St Fergus gas terminal, near Peterhead, is one of the Scottish sites being considered.
St Fergus has long been seen as a key site to deploy CCS at scale – with the potential for hundreds of jobs.
The so-called Acorn project would use existing oil and gas infrastructure to store carbon dioxide underground in depleted North Sea fields, reducing pollution and helping tackle climate change.
It is estimated the north-east could store around 75% of the UK’s CO2 emissions if the investments were to go ahead.
Mr Johnson said: “Although this year has taken a very different path to the one we expected, I haven’t lost sight of our ambitious plans to level up across the country.
“My 10-point plan will create, support and protect hundreds of thousands of green jobs, while making strides towards net zero by 2050.
“Our green industrial revolution will be powered by the wind turbines of Scotland and the North East, propelled by the electric vehicles made in the Midlands and advanced by the latest technologies developed in Wales, so we can look ahead to a more prosperous, greener future.”
Scotland Office minister Iain Stewart added: “This plan puts Scotland at the heart of the UK Government’s commitment to delivering net zero by 2050.
“We are going to build back greener from the pandemic. At the COP26 summit in Glasgow next November, we will show the world how we are leading on renewable energy, clean growth and tackling climate change.”
Mr Johnson’s green plan will mobilise £12 billion of government investment to create and support up to 250,000 highly-skilled green jobs in the UK and inspire over three times as much private sector investment by 2030.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey, however, said the plan would not “undo the damage” of last five years.
The former energy secretary said: “This plan fails to undo the damage the Conservatives have done to the UK’s progress on climate change over the past five years.
“It pledges to continue selling fossil fuel-powered hybrid cars past 2030 and promises to extend the Green Homes Grant by just one year.
“We need a long-term plan, backed by meaningful funding, to tackle the climate emergency and kickstart a green recovery from Covid-19, alongside a new Department of Climate Change to coordinate this plan and a significant devolution of powers across the UK – not more piecemeal pledges.
“Liberal Democrats are calling for £150 billion in funding for a green economic recovery, with investment across every sector of the UK economy to fuel sustainable growth.”
Deirdre Michie, chief executive of industry body Oil and Gas UK, said: “We are pleased to see the Government is committed to its ambitious plans for tackling emissions in spite of all the other challenges we face.
“Our industry is already in action, evolving and contributing. We were one of the first major sectors in the UK to embrace the Government’s target to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
“The good news for jobs and the economy is that with the right support, companies based here in the UK have the expertise to make us world leaders in tackling emissions, including through carbon capture and hydrogen production, both of which are key to the clean energy system of the future.
“Exciting new technologies and innovations need to sit alongside delivering real reductions in emissions and improved efficiency, things that our industry and every one of us can be getting on with right now.”