The SNP has been accused of “contrived grievance politics” after it emerged the Scottish Government has not handed over £80m of funding pledged to a key energy project the party has criticised UK ministers for not financing.

The Scottish Government and the SNP have consistently criticised Tory ministers at Westminster after the Acorn carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) project in the northeast did not receive track one status for funding.

The delay means that Scotland’s ambitious 2030 legal target to cut 1990 levels of carbon emissions by 75 per cent has been put at risk of failure, with the strategy hinging on the use of CCUS.

Statutory advisers, the Climate Change Committee, has warned that the 2030 target is “moving out of view”.

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The UK Government has indicated that the key project is a “prime candidate” and next in line for funding.

In February 2022, SNP ministers pledged £80m of funding to the St Peter’s Port Acron project, but it has emerged that the cash has not been handed over. Meanwhile, the UK Government has already put forward more than £40m to the project so far.

The Scottish Government has claimed that the funding cannot be handed over until it is sure the UK Government will properly back the project to get it off the ground.

SNP Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan, told MSPs that “it is absolutely vital that the UK Government provides clarity on funding for Acorn and that the Scottish Cluster is part of track two”.

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She said: “It is inexplicable to all observers that Acorn was excluded from track one.

“We urgently need a concrete timeline for track two, instead of the vague commitments that have been given to provide further updates in the summer.”

Speaking at Holyrood, Conservative net zero spokesperson, Liam Kerr said: “We all support the Scottish cluster, particularly the UK Government, which has provided more than £41 million in carbon capture funding.

“Given the sentiments that the cabinet secretary has expressed, can she tell the chamber how much of the £80 million that the Scottish Government promised to the Scottish cluster in February last year, rounded to the nearest £1, has been paid over?”

It is understood the £80m is yet to be handed over, but the Scottish Government would “stand firmly behind” the funding pledge.

In response to Mr Kerr, Ms McAllan said: “As ever, there is a large dose of irony and, I would have to say, hypocrisy in the questions that are coming from members on the Tory benches.

“The Government is investing heavily in supporting Scotland’s transition to net zero, not least with £500 million over 10 years through our just transition fund and £75 million through our energy transition fund.

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“However, the member is challenging me to put a figure on investment in carbon capture, use and storage, when it is his party in government down south that has failed to do what only it could do and prioritise Acorn for track one status.

"I will wait with bated breath for a date on the closure of track two.”

Scottish Tory MP David Duguid claimed that “the only investment” the Scottish Government has made to the Acorn project is “the time and effort put into their usual contrived grievance politics”.

He added that “only the SNP insist on talking the project down”.

SNP Energy Minister Gillian Martin said: “We remain wholly committed to supporting the advancement of the Acorn project, and also stand firmly behind our commitment of £80 million of financial support.

“The failure of the UK Government to back the Acorn project to date and the continued uncertainty on its status within the CCUS cluster sequencing process has meant that the support we are offering cannot best be deployed until we are sure the project will get fully underway.

“This is borne out of our conversations with the Scottish cluster.

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“Despite our efforts to get clarity from the UK Government we therefore do not have a full understanding of how and when our support can best be utilised by the project.”

UK energy minister Andrew Bowie told The Herald that the project “will happen”.

He dismissed the argument that the UK Government hasn’t provided money to the Acorn project.

Mr Bowie added: “We have funded the Acorn project to the extent of £40m so far.

“So we as the Conservative Party in the UK Government are funding the Acorn project moving forward.

“It is now in a lead position - a prime candidate for track two.

“We've announced the process for track two has begun. There'll be an update on timelines in the summer.”