Providing sustainable hydrogen gas to Scottish towns and rural areas will be the focus of a historic partnership launched between gas distribution business SGN and renewable energy generator RWE.
The two companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to examine the construction of electrolysers powered by RWE’s 10 onshore wind farms in Scotland, which have a combined capacity of 213 megawatts, to supply hydrogen gas to homes and businesses via Scotland’s gas network.
Hydrogen is an important component for decarbonizing industries such as manufacturing, heavy-load transportation, aviation, and heat, and plays a crucial part in achieving net zero emissions. The UK’s Energy Security Strategy, published in April 2022, raised its aim for low-carbon hydrogen production capacity to 10GW by 2030. Similarly, the Hydrogen Action Plan of the Scottish Government plans to produce 5GW of hydrogen by 2030 and 25GW by 2045.
The cooperation will examine the decarbonization of non-gas-connected households and businesses in Campbeltown, Stornoway, Oban, Thurso, and Wick. These networks are now supplied by Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) and Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG), which, if replaced with hydrogen, could save 21,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually and decarbonize approximately 9,500 homes.
The alliance will determine the required amount of hydrogen, the needs for converting these networks to hydrogen, and the supply of green electrolytic hydrogen from RWE’s adjacent renewable onshore wind farms. In doing so, the project might potentially facilitate the development of onshore wind farms in grid-constrained regions by creating a market for the generated green electricity.
In the next months, a feasibility study will also be done on a 100-megawatt (MW) electrolyser at RWE’s Markinch CHP biomass facility. This could manufacture green hydrogen from local and grid-linked renewable energy, which could then be connected to the SGN gas network in Fife. It would expand upon the work that SGN is now performing in Levenmouth for its groundbreaking H100 Fife project.
Steve Boughton, RWE Director Hydrogen Development, said: “This MoU is a perfect partnership to develop options for the decarbonisation of domestic and business gas networks, and to help Government achieve its ambitions for 10GW of hydrogen production. Hydrogen will play an essential role in the pathway to net zero, particularly in industry and homes which is hard to decarbonise, and RWE is perfectly positioned to support the development of the UK hydrogen economy.”
Fergus Tickell, SGN System Transformation and Business Development Lead, said: “We’re delighted to partner with RWE which shares our belief that hydrogen gas has a leading role in the decarbonisation of homes, businesses and industry in Scotland and the rest of the UK.
“We’ll explore how hydrogen produced locally can be delivered through the world-class networks we’ve been operating for decades, to all of Scotland’s communities, including in Fife, Campbeltown, Stornoway, Oban, Thurso and Wick. We also look forward to investigating more opportunities across the UK.”