No New Peterhead Gas

SSE and Equinor have submitted a planning application for a new gas burning power station at Peterhead, Aberdeenshire. The application is for an additional plant alongside the existing Peterhead gas burning power station, which is already Scotland’s single biggest polluters.

The development poses a significant risk to Scotland’s legally enshrined climate and emission reduction targets and to a just transition for workers and communities. The Scottish Government will make the decision whether to approve this project and lock households into reliance on fossil fuels for energy for the next 25 years. Fuel poverty, grassroots climate groups and marine protection organisations are amongst 44 groups who have written to Scottish Government Ministers urging them to reject proposals for the new gas burning power station.

The letter signed by Oxfam Scotland, Fuel Poverty Action, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Green New Deal Rising, Climate Camp Scotland and dozens of others highlights how new gas at Peterhead would maintain the current energy system which is “dominated by exploitative fossil fuel companies who are benefitting off ordinary people’s hardship.”

See the full list of signatories here.

The letter is addressed to

First Minister John Swinney,

Màiri McAllan MSP Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Energy,

Gillian Martin MSP Minister for Climate Action;

it reads:

Right now, the final decision to approve the construction of a new gas burning power station with carbon capture lies with you.  

Climate science is crystal clear that to limit global heating to 1.5ºC, fossil fuels must be rapidly and fairly phased out.  COP28 in December reaffirmed that developed countries must take the lead on a transition away from fossil fuels. Approving a new fossil fuel burning power station would take Scotland in completely the wrong direction. 

The Scottish Government has missed 8 out of its last 12 climate targets and due to a lack of government planning and action the UK Climate Change Committee (CCC) has now said that the critical target of reducing emissions 75% by 2030 is no longer credible. At this critical juncture, your government must do everything possible to get back on track. This is a moment to redouble efforts, not support a project that will lock in higher fossil fuel emissions for decades to come. 

The existing gas burning power station at Peterhead has been Scotland’s single biggest polluter for the past five years and Ministers must not approve a plan that would make it even worse.

Fossil fuels are driving the cost-of-living crisis, and our current energy system is dominated by exploitative fossil fuel companies who are benefitting from ordinary people’s hardship. Over 30% of Scottish households are living in fuel poverty, having to choose between heating and eating, and that number is growing. Meanwhile, companies like Equinor and SSE who are behind this project are posting record profits. New gas will keep Scotland locked into fossil fuels and high energy prices for decades to come. New renewable energy is already significantly cheaper than new fossil fuel power.”

The Scottish Government is under huge pressure to increase climate action after announcing it would scrap its climate targets and this development would lock in higher fossil fuel emissions, from what is already Scotland’s biggest polluter, for decades to come. ”

The signatories also warn Ministers about reliance on carbon capture saying workers “should not be strung along with empty promises of jobs in fairytale carbon capture” and pointing out of the environmental and ethical risks of trying to store carbon under the North Sea in perpetuity.

Friends of the Earth Scotland climate campaigner Alex Lee commented,

“Organisations from across Scottish society are calling on Ministers to reject this disastrous development which will only further enrich greedy energy companies at a huge cost to Scottish households and the climate. New fossil fuel burning will critically undermine the energy transition and make it even harder for the Scottish Government to meet its climate commitments.”   

“Instead of building an energy system on the rotten foundations of carbon capture, we should be ploughing our time and resources into expanding a renewable energy system that is affordable, reliable and run in the public interest.”

Lucia Harrington, Organising Lead for Fuel Poverty Action commented,

“Fuel Poverty Action opposes SSE and Equinor’s plans to build a new gas-burning power station in Peterhead. Expanding the fossil fuel industry will do nothing to help people with energy bills, but instead this new power station would lock households into relying on expensive gas for decades. Gas is currently priced five times higher than renewable energy and contributes to global warming, putting many lives at risk. But we know that companies like SSE do not care about people dying; whilst they made millions in profits, around 1000 people in Scotland alone died due to cold homes during the winter of 2022-2023.”

Campaign Lead at Oceana Naomi Tilley said,

“The planned development at Peterhead is an appallingly bad proposal from any angle, and the potential for severe damage to our ocean wildlife cannot be ignored. As well as marine heatwaves and ocean acidification driven by the climate crisis, fossil fuel developments and carbon capture projects degrade and destroy extraordinarily rare and diverse habitats – such as rich kelp forests and ancient corals – that are critical to the health of Scottish seas.”

“It is also downright stupidity to prioritise untested and risky carbon-capture technology over protecting our ocean or slashing emissions. Thriving oceans can help stabilise our climate, give us food to eat, and support long-term livelihoods – safeguarding coastal communities. We don’t need more ocean-wrecking fossil fuel developments; we need a just transition to renewables that can provide low-cost energy and long-term jobs.”


Comments (3)

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  1. Tam Dean Burn says:

    Baillie Gifford invest in partners in this crime- Equinor and such “untested and risky carbon capture” is the sort of green technology they purport to invest in.

  2. Ann Morgan says:

    That the term ‘ renewables’ is often used without the back story of ownership and that the transition to green( or greenwash) energy demands an increase in extraction is lacking in the very necessary campaign against fossil.
    See Nayab and I’s article in LESS ( note that Walkabout Resources are not currently progressing extractive activities in Galloway).The GAM campaign has moved to opposing Wind Turbines-I will leave those issues for another day. In short .. that the only ‘ green energy’ is less consumption.. sadly the progress on how to make this possible is also lacking ?

  3. Satan says:

    Can someone tell me what ‘just transition’ really means, without meaningless waffle, please?

    And if people can’t explain what the catch-phrase means in reality, please don’t use it.

    Agree that even the concept of carbon capture is silly. The idea of burying a zillion tons of CO2 forever is daft (half-life: Eternity).

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