Alongside Octopus Energy and RES' joint plan for hydrogen investment in the UK announced today, another project seeks to take advantage of offshore wind resources in the North Sea, and build a hydrogen facility at an existing oil terminal on the island of Flotta in Orkney, as well as new offshore wind farms in the vicinity.
Earlier this week a consortium calling itself Offshore Wind Power Limited, comprising Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, TotalEnergies and Scottish developer Renewable Infrastructure Development Group (RIDG), submitted a proposal for a green hydrogen hub on the island. This facility would be powered by offshore wind farms in an area to the west of Orkney, also part of the proposal.
“We believe that green hydrogen could provide a critical alternative route to market for some of Scotland’s largest offshore wind projects and play a significant role in creating wider economic benefits as the North Sea goes through its energy transition,” said Edward Northam, head of Green Investment Group Europe. “We look forward to working with the Flotta partners to continue to develop this proposal.”
The project has the attention of local leaders, and could bring significant development to Orkney, as well as new jobs for those working in the oil and gas industry. “Flotta is an ideal location for green hydrogen production – it is surrounded by the best wind resource in Europe, it lies close to major shipping routes within the vast natural harbour of Scapa Flow,” said James Stockan, leader of Orkney Islands Council. “The time is right to maximise the incredible natural assets and geography of the Flow and Orkney to ensure a long-term sustainable, climate-friendly future for our communities. We are very much open for business and ready to work with potential investors and operators to develop the significant strategic and international opportunities we know that our islands offer.”
Announcing the UK’s hydrogen strategy in August, business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng estimated that hydrogen could provide up to one third of the UK’s energy in the future. And as renewables come to represent a larger portion of the energy, hydrogen is emerging as key to decarbonization in certain heavy industries and sectors such as shipping and aviation.
“The production of green hydrogen is a hugely exciting opportunity for both offshore wind and the Scottish supply chain. Projects with substantial capacity factors, such as the West of Orkney Windfarm, could deliver highly competitive power to facilities like the Flotta Hydrogen Hub which could, in turn, supply demand for hydrogen both nationally and internationally,” said Mike Hay, commercial director at RIDG. “We’ve therefore committed to working exclusively with our partners to investigate this opportunity thoroughly and have already completed cable routing assessments and nearshore geophysical surveys to better understand the practical aspects of project delivery.”
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