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Macquarie led consortium to develop green hydrogen on Orkney

The hydrogen hub will be built at the existing Flotta Terminal, which has sat on the island since 1976. Image: Macquarie’s GIG.

The hydrogen hub will be built at the existing Flotta Terminal, which has sat on the island since 1976. Image: Macquarie’s GIG.

A new offshore wind consortium has applied to develop an industrial scale green hydrogen production plant on the island of Flotta in Orkney, Scotland.

Offshore Wind Power Limited (OWPL) has been formed by Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, TotalEnergies and Scottish developer Renewable Infrastructure Development Group (RIDG) to pursue the development.

It has submitted a proposal to the Crown Estate Scotland’s offshore wind leasing round (ScotWind) for the N1 plan option area west of Orkney. If OWPL’s bid is successful, the West of Orkney Windfarm will produce renewable power to a green hydrogen production facility at the Flotta Terminal.

“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.”

When the offshore wind farm is developed and in operation, it will feed the electrolysers at the Flotta Terminal site. Image: Macquarie's GIG.
When the offshore wind farm is developed and in operation, it will feed the electrolysers at the Flotta Terminal site. Image: Macquarie's GIG.

Plans for the Flotta Hydrogen Hub are being designed in partnership with the Flotta Terminal’s owner Repsol Sinopec and energy major Uniper. The proposal would aid the Flotta Terminal – which has been in operation on the island since 1976 – to progressively become a diversified hub, with green hydrogen co-existing with oil and gas.

The proposal has been supported by European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) Hydrogen, which has thus far spearheaded Orkney’s leading position in green hydrogen. This includes developing the world’s first project combining tidal power, vanadium flow batteries and green hydrogen.

Neil Kermode, managing director of EMEC said Orkney is well advanced in its “ambition to be the global centre of excellence for research and demonstration of how the hydrogen economy of the future will work".

“For this project to go ahead, a number of vital elements will have to fall into place, including a market for green hydrogen. We are pleased to be collaborating with our offshore wind partners in pursuit of this goal and we are already in discussion with the Scottish and UK governments to explore the mechanisms required to make this vision happen.”

The green hydrogen produced will be used to feed hard to decarbonise sectors such as transport and manufacturing. Image: Macquarie's GIG.
The green hydrogen produced will be used to feed hard to decarbonise sectors such as transport and manufacturing. Image: Macquarie's GIG.

The proposed development comes as new research from the Energy Networks Association suggests green hydrogen is the UK’s best option to circumvent future energy supply shortages. A global shortage of gas has driven up power prices dramatically in recent months, and with Britain relying on gas for 37% of its electricity supply in 2020, changes in the market are felt particularly acutely.

In August, the government unveiled its long awaited Hydrogen Strategy, which included an ambition to reach 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030.

While the cost of electrolysers is still a concern for green hydrogen project development, a number of projects have begun emerging in the UK that could help hit this target. Last week, Octopus Hydrogen formed a strategic partnership with Innova Renewables and Novus to roll out green hydrogen production across the UK for example.

In July, SSE Renewables announced it is planning to co-locate hydrogen production facilities at two onshore wind farms in Scotland and Ireland together with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, and ScottishPower identified the Cromarty Firth as “ideal” for its 35MW electrolyser site.

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