Planning approval sought for hydrogen facility
Orkney is the “ideal location” for a project which could see the islands take another exciting step in the quest to become carbon neutral.
Eneus Energy, working in conjunction with locally-owned Hammars Hill Energy, and Green Cat Renewables, has identified Hammars Hill in Evie as the perfect setting for a project which could create up to seven full-time jobs at a hydrogen production facility.
The facility, which would be housed within an existing agricultural building and yard, would see hydrogen and ammonia — two environmentally-friendly fuel sources — created and used locally.
The proposal has been submitted to Orkney Islands Council (OIC) planning department for planning permission, and includes an extension to the windfarm currently in operation, with two further turbines, of 150 metres.
There are currently five turbines in operation on Hammars Hill.
CEO of Eneus, which has offices in New York and Edinburgh, Chris Bronsdon said: “Orkney is an ideal location to kick off Eneus’ first UK project and contribute to growing the hydrogen economy with local partners.
“As an effective form of hydrogen storage, ammonia provides an ideal opportunity to support the islands’ decarbonisation agenda, as it can be produced locally, and then stored, or used directly for power or heating purposes.
“The process to form green ammonia can also be reversed, which enables the supply of hydrogen for use in fuel cells, including ferries, fuel cell electric vehicles and aviation.
“It is hoped that the hydrogen produced will boost the transition to low carbon fuels.”
OIC has long championed the use of hydrogen to assist in the decarbonisation of the islands’ transport and heat networks — and innovative steps have been taken by the authority and companies in the renewables sector to utilise this technology in transport, heating systems and distilleries.
Powered by the wind farm, Eneus’ facility will turn electricity, water and air into ammonia without releasing carbon emissions.
The storage and transport of liquid ammonia uses the same technologies as liquified petroleum gas (LPG) and provides the opportunity to work in new markets with existing fuel suppliers on the islands.
It is also intended that locally-based technicians will be employed to monitor and operate the facility.
Additionally, there will be further opportunities for local employment and upskilling in the transportation of ammonia produced at the facility.
Scottish renewable development support experts, Green Cat Renewables are providing technical support and project management services as well as acting as planning agents during the planning process.
Hammars Hill Energy Ltd director, Alistair Gray, said: “The proposed two new turbines will be owned and managed by Hammars Hill Energy Limited, the owners of the existing Hammars Hill Wind Farm.
“Hammars Hill Energy is locally owned and locally managed, with around 90 per cent of the dividend returns going to Orkney addresses.
“The board sees the expansion of the existing site as an important step in extending the operation life of the existing project, which will also extend and enhance the current community benefit package.
“Orkney’s renewable energy sector is now a key part of the islands’ economy, supporting jobs, providing community benefit and generating investment, and is important to both local and national environmental ambitions and security of supply, despite being constrained by lack of grid capacity.
“The Hammars Hill Wind Farm is an excellent example of the transformational nature of island clean energy projects.
“Orkney has some of the UK’s best renewable energy resources, yet being at the end of the National Grid, the islands face significant challenges in grid capacity constraints and infrastructure developments, underpinned by an unhelpful regulatory regime.
“As we face uncertainty around the proposed new transmission cable, we have been seeking alternative uses for the power generated by the proposed development, and, working with Eneus Energy and Green Cat Renewables, we are pleased to bring forward this exciting and innovative project.
“Dealing with the coronavirus crisis and its aftermath could be the imperative of our times, and the board consider that low carbon investment could be used as a means to stimulate the economy and growth as part of a comprehensive recovery plan.”