SSE Renewables and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy have announced plans to produce and deliver green hydrogen via electrolysis using renewable energy from SSE’s 100MW-plus Gordonbush onshore wind farm in Sutherland, Scotland.

SSE Renewables would produce green hydrogen at Gordonbush wind farm using Siemens Gamesa’s Renewable Hydrogen Upgrade solution under the new plans. Green hydrogen could then be used as a clean alternative to gasoline, diesel, or natural gas in hard-to-decarbonize sectors like industry, transportation, and manufacturing. The move comes after the two companies agreed last year to look into the possibility of producing green hydrogen on co-located onshore wind farm sites.

Hydrogen is quickly becoming recognized as having the potential to play a revolutionary role in assisting Scotland and the United Kingdom in meeting their net-zero carbon emission goals. When other fuels like gasoline, diesel, or natural gas are burned, harmful carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere; however, hydrogen produces only water vapour.

Green hydrogen production takes the opportunity a step further. In a process known as electrolysis, it separates water into its component parts of oxygen and hydrogen using zero carbon electricity from renewable sources such as wind power. The hydrogen produced can then be stored and distributed to potential customers in transportation, heating, and manufacturing.

SSE Renewables’ plans call for the integration of Siemens Gamesa’s Renewable Hydrogen Upgrade, which includes an electrolyser and ancillary technology, at its Gordonbush site near Brora. The facility would be capable of producing up to 2,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year using wind energy generated at Gordonbush, assisting the UK and Scottish governments in meeting their net zero targets and contributing to the UK’s goal of producing 5 gigawatts (GW) of low carbon hydrogen by 2030.

A battery energy storage system would be included in the overall development, which would be capable of storing any surplus, or constrained, renewable energy produced by the wind farm during times of excess wind on the electrical grid. This would allow for the storage of excess green energy in lithium-ion batteries for later use, such as powering the electrolyser for green hydrogen production or dispatching to the national grid when the wind is not blowing. When scaled up, the technology can help balance the grid by smoothing out wind’s natural variability, allowing wind power to provide both clean and secure energy.

SSE Renewables will also work on the project to find ways to unlock the full potential of the green hydrogen value chain in Scotland’s Highlands and support the country’s growing green hydrogen economy. Working with potential green hydrogen customers from high-carbon industries looking to decarbonize their energy and fuel supplies will be part of this.

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