The Acorn Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) infrastructure project “CO2 Sapling” has been adopted by the EU as a Project of Common Interest (PCI). The PCI programme supports the development of a low carbon integrated energy infrastructure for Europe including providing funding for significant infrastructure construction. CO2 Sapling involves the development of CO2 pipeline and shipping infrastructure from the Acorn hub at St Fergus and Peterhead in North East Scotland.
The infrastructure is part of the Pale Blue Dot Energy Acorn CCS project, which is a phased CCS project, initially capturing existing emissions from the St Fergus Gas Terminal and re-using redundant oil and gas facilities to minimise cost and accelerate project delivery. The project enables subsequent decarbonisation of Scottish industry around Grangemouth, transfer of CO2 from other locations by ship to Peterhead and the production of clean hydrogen from natural gas with CCS. The initial infrastructure has the capacity to transport and store 5MT/yr of CO2.
Alan James, Managing Director of Pale Blue Dot Energy said “The PCI award is of huge significance for Scotland. By recognising and supporting the development of the Acorn infrastructure, PCI funding would enable development to progress and provide the UK with options for the full-scale rollout of CCUS in the 2030s. Along with support from the UK Government and the Scottish Government, this is a significant step towards delivering the UK’s first CCS project.”.
Projects of common interest (PCIs) are key infrastructure projects aimed at completing the European energy market in order to help the EU achieve its energy policy and climate objectives: affordable, secure and sustainable energy for all citizens, as well as the long-term decarbonisation of the economy in accordance with the Paris Agreement. For the first time, the list of PCIs provides for cross-border carbon dioxide network projects. PCI projects benefit from potential financial support and a streamlined approvals process. The UK government have previously indicated their intent to support projects already approved for funding by the EU, if such support is no longer available due to Brexit.