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Over the next several years, Scotland is expected to become a leading global producer of green hydrogen energy. To move closer towards this goal, a multi-partner plan has been launched at the Port of Cromarty Firth known as the North of Scotland Hydrogen Programme.
Scotland’s Bold Goals for Hydrogen
In December 2020, the Scottish Government announced that it will contribute to more than £100 million of the £180 million Emerging Energy Technologies Fund over the next five years to meet its ambitious goal of achieving net-zero in its transportation, heating, and industrial sectors.
One way in which Scotland plans to do this is by generating 5 GW of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen energy by the year 2030. The successful production of this amount of hydrogen energy will be equivalent to what is needed to power 1.8 million homes. As the nation continues to become an expert in electrolysis, Scotland expects to have a hydrogen energy capacity of 25 GW by the year 2045.
What Is Green Hydrogen And Will It Power The Future?
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Promoting Green Hydrogen
With this goal, Scotland is well on its way to becoming a world leader in hydrogen production. This goal is largely attainable due to the number of raw ingredients needed to produce low-cost hydrogen energy that is readily available throughout Scotland.
Scotland is home to one of the largest concentrations of offshore engineering expertise, thereby positioning this nation in a unique position to harness wind, wave, and tidal power to produce green hydrogen.
In addition to reducing the emissions released by the heating, transport, and industry sectors, the development of green hydrogen from these offshore facilities will create high-value jobs, particularly for those who have traditionally used their skills while working in the oil and gas industries.
This rise in green hydrogen energy production opens the door for Scotland to serve as a green hydrogen energy exporter to other European nations. More specifically, the primary export markets for green hydrogen energy produced in Scotland are expected to include Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium.
While many of the Scottish ports and terminals are already well-equipped to export hydrogen energy to these nearby nations, there remains a need to prepare the Scottish supply chain for the production, maintenance, storage, and transportation of hydrogen energy.
The Highlands Green Hydrogen Hub
The North of Scotland Hydrogen Programme has recently been developed to create a state-of-the-art hub that allows for the production, storage, and distribution of green hydrogen energy to occur in a single place.
This revolutionary energy hub will be located in the Trust Port of Cromarty Firth, which currently generates a total of £275 million each year, while also providing jobs for one in every six people in the Invergordon Travel to Work Area.
The Port of Cromarty Firth is currently equipped to handle the world’s largest drilling and production units, as well as any accompanying cargo, renewable energy structures and other components needed for this green hydrogen energy program. The project also ensures the protection of all nearby waters, as well as the wildlife inhabiting them, throughout each of their daily activities.
As the second green hydrogen project of the Highlands by ScottishPower, the North of Scotland Hydrogen Programme will allow this nation to export green hydrogen energy throughout Scotland, as well as to various places within the remainder of the United Kingdom and parts of Europe.
Since many of these areas outside of Scotland do not have the same wind capacity, the development of the North of Scotland Programme will create a significant opportunity for its decarbonization to become a reality.
Some of the specific companies located near the Cromarty Firth that will benefit from the development of this hub include Glenmorangie, Whyte and Mackay, and Diageo.
The incorporation of green hydrogen into these areas will allow for their distilleries and maltings to replace their current fossil fuel energy sources while simultaneously producing the steam needed for the distilling process to continue operating.
Energy giants ScottishPower and Pale Blue Dot Energy will be leading this specific kick-starter Distilleries Project.
The Distilleries Project is a perfect example of the collaborative effort between local partners looking to decarbonize their operations.
The developments of the Cromarty Firth are to set the foundation for many other offshore wind sites that will be developed throughout Scotland over the next several years.
References and Further Reading
Building a new energy sector [Online]. Available from: https://www.gov.scot/news/building-a-new-energy-sector/.
Offshore wind to green hydrogen: opportunity assessment [Online]. Available from: https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-offshore-wind-green-hydrogen-opportunity-assessment/.
Port of Cromarty Firth Launches Bold New Plan for Highlands Green Hydrogen Hub [Online]. Available from: https://www.pocf.co.uk/2021/03/05/port-of-cromarty-firth-launches-bold-new-plan-for-highlands-green-hydrogen-hub/.
The Port As a National Strategic Asset [Online]. Available from: https://www.pocf.co.uk/the-port-as-a-national-strategic-asset/.
ScottishPower to Help Deliver Green Hydrogen Hub at Port of Cromarty Firth [Online]. Available from: https://fuelcellsworks.com/news/scottishpower-to-help-deliver-green-hydrogen-hub-at-port-of-cromarty-firth/.