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Highland Council backs ambitious hydrogen economy plan for Cromarty Firth


By Gordon Calder

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The Cromarty Firth would be at the centre of the hub.
The Cromarty Firth would be at the centre of the hub.

AN ambitious plan for the Highlands to capitalise on a hydrogen economy has been backed by councillors.

Under the proposal, hydrogen would be used as a driving force in achieving the local authority's net zero emission target and in its transition to a green economy.

Members also gave their backing, in principle, to the Opportunity Cromarty Firth project as a major component of the plan.

It includes:

  • The Power House – Future Technology Centre – a new applied research centre, dedicated to developing floating offshore wind and green hydrogen technologies. The aim is to create a global centre of excellence and innovation. The centre is being hosted by the University of the Highlands & Islands in Alness.
  • A Green Hydrogen Hub which would produce hydrogen within the Cromarty Firth area from wind energy, particularly from offshore windfarms in the Outer Moray Firth. Such a hub would be key to regional and national decarbonisation plans and could provide valuable export opportunities for both expertise and technologies.

The proposal could help the area's economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, it was stated.

Councillors heard that hydrogen is a clean-burning gas which contains more energy per unit of weight than fossil fuels. The hydrogen would be used in place of the fossil fuels which provide four fifths of the world’s energy supply at present and emit the bulk of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Once produced, hydrogen can be stored, liquefied and transported by pipelines, trucks, ships or trains. Additionally, it can be used to make fertiliser, fuel vehicles, heat homes and businesses, generate electricity or drive heavy industry.m

Highland Council leader Margaret Davidson backs the hydrogen economy plan
Highland Council leader Margaret Davidson backs the hydrogen economy plan

The local authority will now work to formalise its support for the emerging hydrogen economy in Highland.

Council leader, Margaret Davidson, said: "Highland’s natural and environmental assets means that it is very well-placed to work with business and community partners and support the drive to renewable energy transition and to deliver against both the climate and ecological emergencies, while also supporting a transition to net zero and a green economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

She added: "With progression of the Opportunity Cromarty Firth project, I am confident that this will play a significant role in attracting new and emerging sectors and diversifies jobs and skills – maintaining and enhancing Highland’s role as a global centre of excellence for renewable energy innovation and generation."


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