Green Hydrogen for Scotland project targets 40MW of solar and 50MW of battery storage

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The Whitelee wind farm will be used together with solar and storage to power the 20MW electrolyser. Image: ScottishPower.

British energy company ScottishPower is targeting up to 40MW of solar as part of its Green Hydrogen for Scotland project.

The company has submitted a planning application for up to 40MW of solar, made up over 62,000 individual solar cells, and up to 50MW of battery energy storage, which would be located on a site 5km west of Lochgoin Reservoir, just outside of Glasgow in Scotland, and adjacent to the existing Whitelee Extension substation.

Plans to add a 50MW/50MWh liquid cooled lithium-ion battery storage system to the Whitelee wind farm – the largest onshore windfarm in the UK at 539MW – were approved in June 2019 by the Scottish Government. Speaking at Solar Media’s Energy Storage Summit 2021, the company’s head of project management Tony Gannon outlined the benefits of co-locating storage with the collosal farm.

Together, the solar, wind farm and storage will be used to power a 20MW electrolyser also included in the planning application. This would be the largest in the UK and generate 8 tonnes of green hydrogen a day.

Barry Carruthers, ScottishPower’s Hydrogen director, said that as eyes turned to Glasgow ahead of the COP26 summer this year, “it’s fantastic to be making this next important step towards delivering green hydrogen for Glasgow.

“Whitelee keeps breaking barriers, first the UK’s largest onshore windfarm, and soon to be home to the UK’s largest electrolyser. The site has played a vital role in helping the UK to decarbonise and we look forward to delivering another vital form of zero carbon energy generation at the site to help Glasgow and Scotland achieve their net zero goals.”

Green Hydrogen for Scotland is being developed by Scottish Power in partnership with specialist gas provider BOC and electrolyser manufacturer ITM Power, and is aiming to commercially supply hydrogen before 2030.

The UK is increasingly focused on green hydrogen, as a way to decarbonise difficult sectors such as heavy duty transport. In March, funding for nine projects that used a mix of hydrogen and CCS was announced as part of the Government’s £171 million Industrial Decarbonisation Fund for example. This includes the South Wales Industrial Cluster, where Lightsource bp are developing solar, storage and the electrolyser as part of the project.

Whilst still reasonably nascent, there is a lot of potential for green hydrogen to take over from natural gas around the world, in particular if projects such as these help drive down costs. According to recent research by market analyst BloombergNEF, green hydrogen will be cheaper than natural gas by 2050, with costs falling 85% over the next 30 years in part because of declining costs of solar technology.

Green Hydrogen for Scotland – which was first announced back in September – is expected to play a key part in Glasgow reaching its net zero targets, and in particular help it to create a zero emissions vehicle fleet, relying on electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles by the end of 2029.

Mark Griffin, Hydrogen Market Development Manager for Clean Fuels at BOC said the scale of the project highlighted the growing demand for clean hydrogen, adding that the company was “delighted to bring our hydrogen mobility and refuelling project expertise to help deliver a ground-breaking facility in Glasgow.”

“Green hydrogen has a vital role to play in Scotland and the wider UK’s journey to Net Zero emissions providing a sustainable energy source that can provide clean, renewable energy for industries, heavy transport and companies for decades to come.”

ScottishPower is expecting a decision on the planning application this autumn.

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