Scotland’s 3 coal-fired power stations – one online (Longannet), one ready to be decommissioned (Cockenzie) and one in the pipe-line (Hunterston) are all making headlines, for very different, and all the wrong reasons. This week campaigners lost a legal challenge against the proposed and hugely unpopular Hunterston coal-fired power station, ScottishPower announced that their flagship carbon capture project at Longannet, UK’s 2nd largest power station, is about to collapse, and the Scottish Government approved plans to swap a coal-fired power station at Cockenzie for a “clean fossil fuel” (!?) gas-fired power station, much to the dismay of local residents.
What a mess! But could we have really expected anything else? The courts, government and power companies, all in league to force development on communities, continue pumping carbon into the atmosphere and maximising corporate profits – who would have guessed. Its hard not being cynical about all this.
Take Hunterston – over 20,000 objections, unanimous vote against it by MSPs, yet the decision its still in the hands of the government. The only people who actually want this power station are multi-billion Peel, and who would have guessed it, the government and courts are going to help them get it. More information from CONCH here.
What about Longannet? The flagship CCS project! The hopes of the carbon-capture technofix pinned on this sparkling pilot project! All a complete waste of time and money. So first the SNP pin their energy policy on “clean coal” technology as the solution to the climate crisis and for meeting their proudly proclaimed “worlds greatest reductions targets” and now they won’t cough up for it and its all a massive failure anyway.
And of course, Cockenzie, Europe’s dirtiest power station, one where its cheaper for ScottishPower to pay fines to the EU every year becuase of how dirty it is instead of fitting de-sulphurisation equipment to its belching chimneys. Finally the dirty dinosaur is being decommissioned, but don’t worry! Its being replaced by “clean fossil fuels” says the Scottish Government! We’ll save Scotland from homework by candlelight and black-out doom, and being held ransom by foreign oil and gas companies! Bollocks. There’s no such thing as a clean fossil fuel and anyone smart enough to dupe people into voting for them should be able to figure that out. Equally, there’s no such thing as “baseload” energy needs, as is the justification for another gas-fired power station. Its about meeting peak demand, like when there’s a break in Eastenders and people put the kettle on. Even then, the solution should be to get rid of TVs and electric kettles, and not burn more fossil fuels to deal with the over-consumption of the ruling class.
By the way, East Lothian Council actually objected to the gas power station application in favor of just demolishing it, but had to withdraw it when they realised how costly the slap on the wrist from the Scottish Government would be. What a bunch of hypocrites. The SNP government we mean.
So, excuse the cynicism, but reasoning with these despicable people (catch-all for government ministers and corporate executives) will obviously get us nowhere. Thankfully, people are cracking on and doing something about it. Check out conchcampaign.org if you want to support or get involved in efforts to stop new coal-fired power stations in Scotland.