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Major jobs boost could come from hydrogen hub being built in Cromarty Firth area

By Neil MacPhail

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Aerial view of Cromarty Firth.
Aerial view of Cromarty Firth.

A Cromarty Firth based company is set to play a major part in decarbonising the Scottish whisky industry and bring many welcome jobs to the area.

The project will establish a green hydrogen production hub in the area to supply hydrogen to the local whisky distilling sector and other industries, enabling them to switch from fossil fuels.

UK-based independent decarbonisation developer Storegga has revealed its Cromarty Hydrogen Project has been given the green light from government to decarbonise Scotland’s whisky industry and help kickstart north-east Scotland’s hydrogen economy as part of the UK’s race to net zero.

Storegga say construction of the production hub will employ around 170 with around 30 new high skilled jobs in the first phase, with more to follow as the project develops.

Cromarty Hydrogen, being developed by Storegga and ScottishPower, has been awarded a contract as part of the UK Government’s first Electrolytic Hydrogen Business Model allocation round (HAR1).

Cromarty Hydrogen is one of 11 projects to be awarded a contract, collectively totalling up to 125MW of capacity across the UK.

With its abundant natural resources and strategic positioning, Scotland possesses immense potential for renewable energy, making it a frontrunner in pioneering sustainable energy solutions in the race to Net Zero.

Cromarty Hydrogen said it will not only aid in decarbonising Scottish industry but will also help to kick-start the hydrogen economy in the north of Scotland which aligns with the Scottish Government’s Hydrogen Action Plan, the broader national strategy encompassing the creation of 14 regional hydrogen hubs and associated hydrogen use.

Cromarty Hydrogen’s Phase 1 will produce close to 5,500 kg of green hydrogen every day.

The production plant will use 100% renewable power to split water into hydrogen and oxygen via electrolysis.

Long-term production, through future phases, has the potential to rise to over 100,000kg per day, for delivery throughout the region to distilleries and other industrial and transport sectors.

Sarah Potts, Storegga’s hydrogen managing director said: “After a lot of hard work by the integrated Storegga and ScottishPower project team, I’m delighted that Cromarty has been selected by the UK Government Department of Energy Security and Net Zero as one of 11 projects to be awarded a funding support contract.

"As an SME originating from North East Scotland, I believe Storegga is able to bring a unique perspective and ambition to deliver decarbonisation solutions for Scottish industry.

"We look forward to now being able to take the project forward to a final investment decision in 2024, with first production in 2026, and continuing to grow our hydrogen investments in the region.”

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