Simply shutting down industries and factories isn’t an option. We need to find a way to keep industry and people working without harming our environment. That is why NECCUS was formed in 2019 as an alliance of industry and experts: to support the solutions needed to decarbonise industry in Scotland and beyond.
Industry employs some 300,000 people across Scotland, contributes some £26 billion per year to the economy, and emits nearly 30% of the 41 million tonnes of CO2 generated by Scotland per year. The challenge is a significant one, but we have some natural strengths and opportunities that make Scotland the obvious place to lead the reduction of emissions from industry.
The onshore and offshore infrastructure that has provided natural gas to power our economy can be repurposed to carry clean hydrogen to industry to utilise, whilst also transporting CO2 emissions from industrial sites for permanent underground storage. Our existing deepwater ports can be used to help export hydrogen or import CO2 from other parts of the UK or Europe which have industrial emissions that cannot be abated in other ways and lack permanent underground CO2 stores. The British Geological Survey recognises Scotland as having the largest CO2 underground store potential in the UK, in well-understood geology under the North Sea. This presents a business opportunity for Scotland and can provide a necessary service to enable CO2 emissions reductions across Europe.
We also expect one of the largest expansions of offshore wind in Europe to happen in Scotland over the coming years, with up to 6GW in the consenting process and a potential further 8GW to be licensed. This renewable energy can be used by industry either as a clean source of electricity or as a power source to create the hydrogen necessary to fuel and heat the industrial processes that manufacturing rely on.
This transformation to a net-zero emission economy needs manpower. Scotland’s industrial heritage and some 50 years of activity in the North Sea have develop a large workforce with the skills and experience to deliver this change. This can be coupled to leading technology developers, a world-class supply chain, and academic expertise across the energy transition field to deliver progress towards the Scottish Government target of 75% emission reductions by 2030.
Together we can use these strengths to decarbonise industry in Scotland and across the UK quickly and effectively. With the world’s attention moving towards COP26 in Glasgow in November, we can highlight these opportunities, the wealth of ongoing carbon reduction projects occurring across Scotland from the Borders to Shetland, and gain traction for the support needed to deliver on our 2045 net zero national objective. This is why NECCUS is supporting the Back the Scottish Cluster campaign and we encourage others to join the campaign and highlight their own journey towards industrial decarbonisation.
Mike Smith, CEO of NECCUS, the association for industrial decarbonisation in Scotland with some 50 members across multiple industry sectors, academia, the supply chain, and support agencies