In order to prepare for future occurrences of the frigid, windless conditions observed in the past week, the energy company SSE has started construction on an underground hydrogen storage cavern in east Yorkshire.
At a current SSE facility in Aldbrough, Yorkshire, near the coast, the project will generate hydrogen using renewable energy in a 35-megawatt electrolyser that will be stored in a cavern the size of St. Paul’s Cathedral that is a mile deep. When there is a surge in demand, the hydrogen will be used to power a turbine that can export power to the grid.
Prior to larger projects in the region that would require larger pipelines and equipment, SSE hopes the “pathfinder” project, which might cost more than £100 million, will show the technology. Through a fund created to encourage low-carbon hydrogen initiatives, the business seeks to secure government funding for the undertaking.
The amount that power stations can charge the National Grid for backup electricity is being capped, according to information that emerged last week from Ofgem. Ofgem plans to publish ideas early next year and wants to tighten regulations to stop “excessive” profits.
Due to the increase in energy prices, SSE, which operates hydroelectric dams, wind farms, and gas-fired power plants, announced a more than tripling of profits last month.
Before a larger hydrogen storage project planned for the same site in 2028 in collaboration with the Norwegian energy company Equinor, SSE wants to have the project operational by 2025. The Keadby hydrogen power station, which will be the first significant 100% hydrogen-fired power station in the world, is also being developed by the duo. For the pathfinder project’s design and engineering work, SSE and Siemens Energy have a contract.