Scottish port could become offshore wind-powered hydrogen hub

Offshore wind companies have increased their links with industry in Scotland’s Cromarty Firth region after it was named a ‘green freeport’ by the UK government, raising expectations for it to become a green hydrogen hub.

Cromarty Firth has ambitions to become a green hydrogen hub (Image credit: ATGImages)

Buchan Offshore Wind has joined the board of the PowerHouse, the skills and innovation vehicle of the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport. It has become the second wind consortium to do so in recent weeks, following Stromar Offshore Wind; a consortium comprising Renantis, BlueFloat Energy and Ørsted. 

Freeports aim to create economic activity and goods imported into them are exempt from the taxes that are usuaully paid to the UK government.

Buchan Offshore Wind is a partnership between BayWa's renewable energy unit, Belgian wind developer Elicio and floating wind specialist BW Ideol. It secured the rights to develop a 1GW floating wind farm in Crown Estate Scotland’s latest ScotWind leasing round. 

Cromarty Firth aims to be a hub for industries producing, storing and distributing green hydrogen at scale to Scotland, the UK and Europe. The North of Scotland hydrogen programme was established through the Opportunity Cromarty Firth initiative. 

Freeport status hastens investment

Green freeport status could bring forward investment in larger-scale facilities by up to ten years because of the region’s enormous potential for offshore wind growth and place the Highlands at the centre of future large-scale production of green hydrogen, according to Opportunity Cromarty Firth.

ScottishPower and Storegga recently announced plans to develop one of the UK’s largest electrolyser plants in the area, which would initially produce up to 30MW of green hydrogen to be used in heating processes in nearby whisky distilleries.

Alasdair MacLeod, project director for Buchan Offshore Wind, said his company saw this development as a “significant opportunity” to maximise the output of renewable power while strengthening the Scottish supply chain.