Q: Who is involved in the Ardeer bid and how was the proposal produced?
A: The bid for the North Ayrshire site is being led by the Fusion Forward (Ardeer) consortium, which represents NPL Group, which owns the land, North Ayrshire Council and the University of Glasgow.
Each partner contributed to the development of the initial bid and the supplementary information required at each phase of assessment by the UKAEA.
The consortium also gratefully acknowledges the support and backing offered by Glasgow City Council in preparing the bid and the valuable feedback offered by Scottish Enterprise during the initial preparation of the proposal.
Q: When will the final decision on where STEP will be located be made?
A: The STEP Recommendation Panel will make their recommendation to the Secretary of State when the phase 2 assessment is complete. This is expected to be some time from April 2022 onwards, with a final decision being made by the Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy by the end of 2022.
Of the five shortlisted sites, Ardeer is the only one in Scotland, with the other four potential locations in England.
Q: Who approves the planning consent for a project like this?
A: Due to the nature and scale of the project, STEP will be subject to an application made under Section 36 of the Electricity Act and an Environmental Impact Assessment. This would be determined by the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit.
North Ayrshire Council will be one of a number of consultees in this process.
Q: What is the Scottish Government’s approach to this project?
A: Scottish Government currently does not have policy position on fusion power. The Scottish Government energy policy is due for review in spring 2022 and we are working closely with Scottish Government officers to ensure they are fully brief on STEP.