THE UK Government’s energy announcement has been heavily criticised by senior SNP leaders, including new First Minister Humza Yousaf, for having a “complete lack of credible detail” for Scotland’s Acorn project.

Energy Secretary Grant Shapps announced a series of measures and investments on Thursday, including a commitment to increased carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS).

Westminster said that, at this stage, it considers the Acorn Transport and Storage System in Aberdeenshire one of the two best placed to deliver its objectives.

It comes after £20 billion for CCUS was announced in the spring budget.

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The First Minister hit out at the UK Government plans as he claimed its new energy strategy had “relegated” the Acorn Project. 

Meanwhile, SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn, called them a "let down".

He added: “This was trailed as ‘green energy day’ but it feels more like ‘groundhog day’ with a complete lack of credible detail on when the Acorn project will be given the green light to progress."

Flynn, formerly the party's energy spokesman, added: “You really are left to ponder what exactly the point was in this so-called 'announcement'.

“While the US and EU pump cash into green investment and carbon capture technology, the Tories can’t even get their act together on the long promised, yet continually snubbed, Scottish Cluster. This plan is a mere drop in the ocean compared to what’s required.”

Westminster rejected the Aberdeen carbon capture project in an initial round of funding in 2021.

The decision was branded as a “political” choice by the SNP at the time, who were also left disappointed when Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget announcement in March didn’t commit to any funding either.

The announcement came as Westminster claimed Scotland will be “at the heart” of UK Government plans to "power up" Britain and boost UK energy independence.

The UK Government has set an ambition for 10GW of hydrogen production by 2030 and said Scotland will be central to those plans.

UK energy security and net zero minister Graham Stuart said: “Scotland will be at the heart of our plans to power up Britain as we support its development of new homegrown technologies of the future.

“Today’s announcement will create opportunities for Scottish businesses to export their expertise around the world and set the standard for a clean, secure and prosperous future.”

Four of the first 15 projects to be given a share of the £240 million Net Zero Hydrogen Fund (NZHF) to develop new low carbon hydrogen production plants also in Scotland, it was announced on Thursday.

Scotland’s winning NZHF projects are Statera, based in Kintore, Aberdeenshire, which plans to develop a 3GW, grid-connected, electrolytic hydrogen project that aims to use excess wind power in Scotland to produce low-carbon, green hydrogen and supply it to the UK’s most carbon intensive industrial clusters through existing gas transmission pipelines.

Meanwhile, Octopus Energy’s Lanarkshire Green Hydrogen project plans to deploy 15MW of electrolysis directly connected to an onshore wind farm to produce more than 3.5 tonnes per day of green hydrogen.

The other winning projects are Falck Renewables, which plans to develop its Knockshinnoch Green Hydrogen Hub Project, and Getech, which aims to build a major green hydrogen hub in Inverness that will produce, store and dispense green hydrogen – upwards of 10 tonnes a day over time.

Shapps has also launched a £160m fund for projects to build the port infrastructure needed to support further floating offshore wind power.

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Scotland Office minister John Lamont said Scotland’s green energy potential is “at the heart” of the UK Government’s plans to deliver energy security, drive investment and grow the economy by developing clean domestic power sources.

He added: “From the carbon capture sector, where we are progressing at pace and investing up to £20bn to help decarbonise our industries, to offshore wind, funding for low-carbon hydrogen projects and making the Contracts for Difference round an annual event, Scotland is a key part of the UK’s net zero plans and helping to boost economic growth through green jobs.”

Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said the announcement was "unacceptable".

She added: “Today’s announcements should have been a defining moment for the UK – a chance to encourage the necessary investment to deploy the renewable energy projects required to safeguard our energy security, cut bills for consumers and meet our net-zero targets. It is unacceptable that they have fallen so far short.

The new Scottish Energy Secretary Neil Gray said it was "disappointing". 

He added: “We are aware that the UK Government has finally set out some further detail on how the world-class Scottish Cluster carbon capture project can advance in the UK Government’s sequencing progress, but we still lack a clear timeline on when the cluster will be confirmed.

"We will continue to press the UK Government to provide this as a priority in order to unlock the technology, which will be vital to delivery on both Scotland and the UK’s climate targets.

"We have been repeatedly calling for the UK Government to take actions in key reserved policy areas to support the energy transition. These requirements were set out in our draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, published in January, which sets out a clear vision for how we can ensure a just transition for our energy sector, improve our energy security, and capitalise on the enormous economic opportunities from Scotland becoming a renewables powerhouse.

“While some welcome announcements have been made today, there is a disappointing lack of focus on delivering a just transition or on tackling the immediate cost of living crisis - as well as a lack of clear and coherent decarbonisation plan that demonstrates delivery of net zero targets.

“Delivering a just transition to net zero - both in Scotland and across the UK - requires meaningful collaboration across governments. It is therefore disappointing that, despite repeated requests, the substantive proposals published by the UK Government today were not shared with the Scottish Government in advance.

"We will now take time to consider the details of today’s announcements and how they interact with Scotland’s ambitions."