‘Green’ hydrogen plan for Nigg offshore wind farm plant

Hydrogen could be used to power heavy machinery at the Port of Nigg offshore wind farm fabricators after a partnership between ScottishPower and Global Energy Group was announced today.

The former mothballed Nigg fabrication yard on the Cromarty Firth has been transformed into a multi-energy sector site
The former mothballed Nigg fabrication yard on the Cromarty Firth has been transformed into a multi-energy sector site

The initiative will see the use of “green” hydrogen being investigated, including for high-temperature processes at the producer of Scotland’s biggest offshore wind farms.

Green hydrogen is made using energy from renewable sources.

Heavy plant and machinery could also be powered by the gas along with in the manufacture of wind farm components, which consumes a lot of energy.

The deal follows ScottishPower launching a green hydrogen business in December.

Barry Carruthers, its hydrogen director, said: “Green hydrogen provides a sustainable, scale-able, long-term energy solution.

“Electrification is vital to helping the UK decarbonise, but for us to reach our climate change targets, we need to start developing and delivering green hydrogen now to the places where electrification can’t reach.

“Over the next five years, we need to see industries and companies that can’t be powered by electricity alone taking the decision to adopt green hydrogen.”

The Cromarty Firth port has won the contract as the marshalling, storage and logistics base for the 1,075 megawatt Seagreen offshore wind farm in the Firth of Forth.

Global Energy Group said it has spent more than £90 million over the last decade in transforming the former mothballed yard into a multi-energy sector site.

Chief executive Tim Cornelius said: “As we work to further expand our site to help deliver the UK’s offshore wind ambition, we need to look at what we can do to lower our own carbon emissions.

"Green hydrogen presents us with a major opportunity.”

Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Hydrogen has a potentially very important role to play in ensuring Scotland becomes a net-zero economy by 2045.

"Our abundant natural resources will support the establishment of a thriving hydrogen sector here.

“It is clear hydrogen is not just an energy and emissions reduction opportunity, it could also have an important role in generating new economic growth for Scotland by creating new jobs."

Hydrogen is also being tested in a new fleet of double-decker buses in Aberdeen, and a Scottish Enterprise project to develop hydrogen-powered trains.

However, the Scottish Greens said the Scottish Government’s ‘hydrogen economy’ plans involved an over reliance on fossil fuels and undeveloped technology.

Energy spokesperson Mark Ruskell said: “It is right for the Scottish Government to explore all options to lower carbon emissions, but hydrogen is far from a silver bullet.

“Clean green hydrogen energy is better than from the fantasy of ‘blue hydrogen’, proposed by the oil and gas sector, but it is a technology that is still some way off.

"With only nine years left until climate science tells us is a point of no return, we simply don’t have time to wait to become early adopters of a new technology.

“Instead of expecting the oil and gas sector to manage their own transition, we need to maximise the technology we have and realise Scotland’s huge potential in wind and tidal energy and create thousands of jobs there.”

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