Scotland’s green hydrogen and offshore wind sector will receive a boost under a new agreement between Scotland and Germany’s renewable energy groups.
DeepWind, which represents the north of Scotland’s offshore wind cluster, and Germany’s wind energy agency WAB, have signed a three-year memorandum of understanding (MoU). It will see both groups collaborating on initiatives to develop offshore wind electricity to produce green hydrogen.
Under the agreement, the two groups will exchange and analyse information, experiences and insights and inform each other about progress in joint projects. The deal will provide networking and matchmaking opportunities for supply chain companies in each cluster.
The aim is to boost the renewable energy industry and benefit supply chains in both countries.
Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “We very much welcome this partnership which seeks to boost the renewable energy industry and benefit supply chains in both Scotland and Germany. This is doubly important as in this priority sector as we move towards economic recovery.
“We’ve already supported a number of world-leading hydrogen demonstration projects in Scotland and our forthcoming Hydrogen Assessment will set out our capabilities and potential in the emerging European and global hydrogen economies and flag up the scale of opportunities that can be harnessed for supply chain development.
“This agreement has the potential to develop new economic opportunities for both Scotland and Germany and to grow the offshore wind and hydrogen sectors more quickly. It will strengthen the commercial relationship between our two countries and support our joint efforts to achieve a net-zero emissions future,” Wheelhouse said.
At present, around 96% of the world’s hydrogen is derived from refining fossil fuels, essentially cancelling out many of its green credentials.
The remaining 4% is derived from electrolysis, which uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, completely removing greenhouse gas emissions. However, electrolysis is energy intensive, requiring large amounts of electricity to perform at scale.
By using green energy sources to perform electrolysis, not only will the hydrogen be produced cleanly and sustainably, but it will also help use excess electricity to create a fuel that can be stored and used during production troughs.
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With a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind resources, Scotland has some of the best conditions in Europe for large scale green hydrogen production.
DeepWind was initiated in 2019 by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) in partnership with Scottish Enterprise and offshore wind developer Ocean Winds as an industry champion to develop these resources.
Ocean Winds UK Country Manager Dan Finch said: “We’re on the cusp of an exciting opportunity for the North Sea to play an even more central role in the UK and European clean energy mix. Ocean Winds is delighted to support DeepWind and this MoU to unlock the potential for growth through collaboration.
“Overseas market entry can be a difficult move for SMEs which form the bulk of the DeepWind cluster membership. This MoU with WAB will form one of the strands of support to reduce and remove barriers to entry for cluster companies able to establish partnerships or identify gaps in local provision.
He said: “Closer working between the two clusters could also highlight and accelerate opportunities for innovation in offshore wind and green hydrogen production between Scotland and Germany.”