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Green hydrogen partnership throws its support behind £1 billion Opportunity Cromarty Firth Highland investment bid

By Rachel Smart

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The Highlands could be at the centre of future large-scale production of green hydrogen if the Cromarty Firth wins Green Freeport status.

ScottishPower and Storegga have expressed their support for the Green Freeport bid by Opportunity Cromarty Firth (OCF), the consortium bidding to win the status, which could attract more than £1 billion of investment to the area and create thousands of jobs and local supply chain opportunities during construction.

Joint developers ScottishPower and Storegga recently announced plans to develop, in partnership, the UK’s largest green hydrogen electrolyser plant on the Cromarty Firth.

The project’s initial phase would see the facility produce up to 50 megawatts (MW) of green hydrogen to be used in heating processes in nearby whisky distilleries.

The green hydrogen developers said Green Freeport status would have the potential to bring forward more than £1 billion of investment in a larger-scale plant by up to ten years and would place the Highlands firmly at the centre of future large-scale production of green hydrogen, because of the region’s enormous growth potential of offshore wind, which is critical to the industry’s development.

This view corroborates the recently-released Scot2Ger study, which was commissioned by Scottish Enterprise, to explore future export opportunities for Scotland’s green hydrogen.

Andrew Brown, head of hydrogen at Storegga said: “Green Freeport status for Inverness and the Cromarty Firth could bring forward investment of more than £1billion and help secure the UK’s position as a global leader and leading exporter of this clean fuel alternative.

“We have big ambitions for our planned green hydrogen facility on the Cromarty Firth and we welcome any developments that could help fast-track both the switch to this green fuel at home, and grow an export market that will help create a clean energy future for us all.”

Commenting on behalf of OCF, Port of Cromarty Firth chief executive, Bob Buskie, said: “These leading projects demonstrate the enormous potential of Scotland’s rapidly developing green hydrogen industry and place the Cromarty Firth and the Highlands at the heart of that clean energy revolution.

“ScottishPower and Storegga are developing a transformational project in our area, which will provide green hydrogen for heating processes in whisky distilleries.

“That development has been designed with future expansion in mind that would bring regional and national energy security, clean fuels and high-quality green careers and supply chain opportunities.”

Mr Buskie continued: “We are in absolutely no doubt that winning Green Freeport status is key to turning the even larger scale 1GW vision into a reality here at pace.”

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