Coal Station Proposal

Communities Opposed to New Coal at Hunterston

NEWS UPDATE – August 2011

In July 2011 Ayrshire power’s submitted an addendum to their plans – their plans have got bigger and dirtier. The chimney stack will now be 200m as opposed to 155ms in the original plans.
You can view their updated plans on their website.


AYRSHIRE POWER misleading claims on carbon capture

What is Carbon Capture and Storage?
Find out on our new CCS page, which gives all the info, pros and cons.

What their website says

“Carbon capture and storage technology, when applied at full scale, would ensure that up to 90% of CO2 emissions are captured instead of being released into the atmosphere.”

What their plans actually say

“…about 15% of the Carbon Dioxide (CO2 ) would be removed from the start of the operations” (non-technical summary page 2)

Ayrshire Power’s Original Plans

You can view the full plans and Environmental Statement on Ayrshire Power’s website
A non technical summary can be viewed here or download a pdf.

The billionaire tax-exile behind the Hunterston coal plan

John Whittaker, the man behind Ayrshire Power, is a billionaire tax exile, backed by Saudi oil money, living on the Isle of Man.
The Peel group of over 100 companies is c.25%-owned by the Saudi Olayan family and has assets valued at over £4.5 billion.
Read more

The Original Proposals for a new Coal-fired Power Station at Hunterston

Ayrshire Power Limited is a new company that was orignally formed by Peel Energy and Denmark’s 73% state-owned DONG Energy to develop plans for a new 1600 MW coal power station at Hunterston.
DONG Energy have since pulled out of the project

The proposed development will cover 236 acres (95ha) and would involve infilling large areas of valuable wildlife habitat.This equates to an area roughly the size of 148 football pitches. The site includes areas which are designated as SSSI (Sites of Special Scientific Interest).

Comment by Architecture+Design in Scotland, ‘Scotland’s national champion for good architecture, design and planning in the built environment.’

The coal station will be visible from miles around and its pollution will spread even further. Its many buildings will include:

  • two boiler houses (115m high x 6.15m x 70m)
  • air emission stack (chimney) 152m high – almost 500ft
  • two fly ash silos (20m x 75m)

The whole development will consist of:

  • coal fired power station and fuel storage yard
  • biomass/gas fired power station
  • carbon capture infrastructure
  • container transhipment hub
  • maritime construction and decomissioning yard
  • downstream industrial processes
  • associated environmental works


Ayrshire Power’s Proposed Site Plan as at 1st August 2011

Colombian Coal –
Human rights issues

A US company, Drummond, arrived in Colombia in 1987. It obtained a claim to exploit coal in Cesar province.
In 1995, when the shaft was opened, the workers, because of the company’s pressures and violations of their rights, became unionized in order to resist. This is an open-pit mine. When they took away the top layer of land to get down to where the coal is, the communities living in the areas surrounding the mine were displaced. The water sources in those areas were removed/obstructed, so the ecosystem changed as well.
The struggle of workers against these multinationals resulted in the murder of four trade unionists in 2001. As soon as the multinationals arrived, they became acquainted with politicians and the powerful families of the area. These families were also related to the paramilitary groups. The killings took place during our struggle to improve working conditions.
Read more
Drummond sued over slain Colombian unionists
More Human Rights Issues

The proposed coal station will burn 3.3M tonnes of coal each year, all of which will be imported from countries such as Russia and Colombia. According to their own figures it will produce 445,000 tonnes of ash per year. Approximately 48 cubic metres of cooling water would be re-circulated into the Clyde, equating to 4,000,000m3 per day.

Once built the coal station will employ around 150 people

The coal station is phase one of a much bigger “Clydeport Masterplan” for the area, which has been added to the National Planning Framework without any public consultation.

Also proposed is a maritime construction and decommissioning yard, a container trans-shipment hub and several other industrial processes. According to their Masterplan “it is envisaged that waste ash from the coal station could be reused to form land platforms for these later phases of the development.”


Carbon Capture Information

The Scottish Government thermal policy statement was announced on the 9 November 2009 and means that the proposed coal station must only have 300MW (net) carbon capture and storage (CCS) operational from day one. As the proposed coal station at Hunterston will generate 1600MW, this would mean only around 20% of the emissions would be “carbon captured” leaving 75%-80% of the plants CO² emissions unabated for an indeterminate length of time.
Dow Jones Article on Lloyd’s website.

The government is proposing a levy to fund the development of carbon capture and storage technology. Dominic Maclaine looks at how it might work.

Department of Energy & Climate Change – Information on carbon capture

What they still can’t tell us – how they will either transport or store any carbon they capture

“The full Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) comprises 3 elements – capture, transportation and storage of CO2. However – this Section 36 application is only for the onsite equipment associated with the capture of CO2 from the power station flue gas and its preparation before being transported to the storage location. The remaining elements of the CCS chain are outside of the remit of this Section 36 application and will be the subject of future applications.”

(non technical summary p23)

Consultation – what consultation?

Ayrshire Power did not hold any public meetings before they lodged their planning application. Their only direct ‘consultation’ with the public was four exhibitions in early October 2009, three of which were held on working days.

This is what they told us:

“We have made a strategic decision not to have any public meetings ……. apart from four exhibitions there will be no public events before the planning application is lodged.”Ayrshire Power, Project Director, Largs 3/10/09

yet this is what their newsletter says…

“Most importantly we are committed to consultation and constructive dialogue before submitting our planning application….” Ayrshire Power Newsletter, issue 2

… Just fancy that!