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UK Government backs two SSE projects in Net Zero Hydrogen Fund

16 Aug 2023

A pair of green hydrogen projects being developed by SSE have been selected by UK Government to progress to the final stage of its Net Zero Hydrogen Fund.

The fund aims to back the development and deployment of new low-carbon hydrogen production to de-risk investment and reduce lifetime costs.

Following a period of due diligence, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has confirmed it will enter negotiations with SSE to provide support for its Aldbrough Hydrogen Pathfinder and Gordonbush Hydrogen projects.

Aldbrough Hydrogen Pathfinder, which is being developed at SSE Thermal’s existing gas storage site in East Yorkshire (pictured above) aims to demonstrate the interactions between renewable hydrogen production, storage and power generation. Pathfinder could be operational by the middle of the decade and serve an important role in proving the role flexible hydrogen power can play in the UK’s net zero journey.

Gordonbush Hydrogen plans to produce and deliver green hydrogen through electrolysis using renewable energy from SSE Renewables' 100MW-plus Gordonbush onshore wind farm in Sutherland (pictured below). The project would demonstrate the value in co-locating green hydrogen production at existing renewables sites, with the potential to maximise renewables output unlocking further growth as well as enabling decarbonisation of other sectors.

Catherine Raw, Managing Director of SSE Thermal and Group Executive Committee lead for hydrogen, said: 

“Hydrogen will be crucial in getting the UK to net zero, as well as significantly boosting our energy security by maximising our ability to harness homegrown renewables. At SSE, we are developing projects across the hydrogen value chain, from production to storage to power generation.

“For a thriving hydrogen economy to be developed, we need to see projects brought forward at pace and the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund aims to achieve exactly that. 

"We welcome the recognition from UK Government on the potential of both Aldbrough Hydrogen Pathfinder and Gordonbush Hydrogen and look forward to the continued development of these important low-carbon projects."

Catherine Raw, Managing Director of SSE Thermal

SSE’s Aldbrough Hydrogen Pathfinder would utilise green power sourced from grid through Renewable PPAs when supply is plentiful, in compliance with the Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard. Hydrogen would then be produced via a 35MW electrolyser and stored in a converted salt cavern before being used in a 100% hydrogen-fired open-cycle gas turbine, exporting flexible green power back to grid at times of system need. SSE aims to produce hydrogen and start filling the cavern by 2025, subject to planning consents and reaching a final investment decision later this year.

Gordonbush Hydrogen is currently undergoing refinements prior to the submission of a planning application to the Highland Council. If developed, the Gordonbush Hydrogen facility could produce up to 1,300 tonnes of green hydrogen annually in an electrolyser unit. The green hydrogen could then be used as a clean alternative to petrol, diesel or natural gas to help decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors such as industry, transport and manufacturing.