Scotch Distilleries To Get Some Power Via Green Hydrogen Hub

By Hannah Kanik / March 27, 2021

ScottishPower and The Port of Cromarty Firth announced a multi-partner plan that was launched to establish a green hydrogen hub in the Highlands. 

The North of Scotland Hydrogen Programme is targeted at developing a state-of-the-art hub in the Cromarty Firth to produce, store and distribute hydrogen to the region, Scotland and other parts of the UK and Europe.

One project from the partnership will provide distilleries in the region with hydrogen. Officials are working on a feasibility study into the kick starter project and is set to be completed in June. The project is funded privately by partners including ScottishPower, Glenmorangie, Whyte and Mackay and Diageo and Pale Blue Dot Energy. 

Cormarty Firth

The Croma Firth (image via ScottishPower)

“It is clear that hydrogen will not only help us end our contribution to causing climate change, but could also create significant economic opportunities in Scotland and, in helping sustain new economic opportunities in a port that has a long track record as a supply chain hub for offshore energy developments,” Scotland’s Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said in a prepared statement. “It will also support the Just Transition of the North Sea supply chain. The North of Scotland Hydrogen Programme is an exciting example of collaboration and regional hydrogen innovation required to realise the significant economic and environmental potential that hydrogen presents in Scotland.”

The Hydrogen Policy Statement that was published last year highlights the importance of the development of regional hubs of hydrogen activity and innovation, Wheelhouse said.

“The North of Scotland Hydrogen Programme is a flagship project, showcasing how partnerships across energy and industry can deliver long-term, sustainable solutions for areas where electrification can’t reach,” Barry Carruthers, ScottishPower’s Hydrogen Director said. ”The Highlands of Scotland have been at the heart of the renewable energy revolution over the past two decades and now they look set to be at the centre of the green hydrogen revolution. We look forward to working with our partners on this project and begin our wider work to deliver green hydrogen across the UK.”

Green hydrogen is created using electrolysers powered by electricity from renewable sources. 

Bob Buskie, Chief Executive of the Port, said this hub could provide a massive boost to Scotland’s goal to decarbonize its economy. 

Green hydrogen would give distillers the opportunity to decarbonize the heating of their distilleries as well through using hydrogen in place of fossil fuel to create the energy needed to make steam for the distilling process.

“In the short term, we have a number of local partners with vast experience in hydrogen, distilling and utility provision who want to decarbonise their operations,” Buskie said. “And in the long term, there is a huge opportunity to decarbonise Highland industry, transport and heat, as well as exporting green hydrogen to other parts of the UK and mainland Europe, which doesn’t have the same offshore wind capacity as Scotland.”

As many as 15 new offshore wind sites are set to be developed in the next few years.

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