CHANCELLOR Jeremy Hunt is set to hand a key energy project £20 billion of funding – ending years of demands from the SNP for investment.

In 2021, the Acorn carbon capture and storage project in the Scotland’s north east was snubbed for funding, putting both the country’s and the UK’s net zero targets at risk of failure.

However, the Chancellor is set to now pump £20bn into the technology across the UK in next week’s Budget.

Carbon capture and storage, yet to be deployed at scale anywhere in the world, prevents carbon from being released into the atmosphere and instead is harnessed and put into the seabed.

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The 20-year investment plan will help drive forward projects that aim to store up to 30 million tonnes of CO2 a year by 2030.

The Chancellor will also announce plans to boost nuclear power generation through Great British Nuclear, launching a competition for this country’s first small modular nuclear reactors.

But none of the projects are set to be deployed in Scotland because the Scottish Government holds a long-standing opposition to the use of nuclear power and can essentially veto projects being developed.

Mr Hunt said: “Without government support, the average household energy bill would have hit almost £4,300 this year, which is why we stepped in to save a typical household £1,300 on their energy bills this winter.

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“We don’t want to see high bills like this again, it’s time for a clean energy reset. That is why we are fully committing to nuclear power in the UK, backing a new generation of small modular reactors, and investing tens of billions in clean energy through carbon capture.

“This plan will help drive energy bills down for households across

the country and improve our energy security whilst delivering on one of our five promises to grow the economy.”

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UK Energy Security Secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “Already a global leader in offshore wind power, we now want to do the same for the UK’s nuclear and carbon capture industries, which in turn will help cut the wholesale electricity prices to amongst the lowest in Europe.

“Today’s funding will play an integral role in delivering that, helping us further towards our net zero targets and creating green jobs across the country.”