A vision to utilise Scottish offshore wind resources in the North Sea to make the country an exporter of clean energy has been unveiled at the COP 26 climate change conference in Glasgow.
The Northern Horizons Project has been unveiled by Aker Horizons’ portfolio companies Aker Offshore Wind and Aker Clean Hydrogen, who have the technical know-how and expertise to realise the project, and DNV, the independent energy expert and assurance provider.
The project describes how harnessing 10GW of renewable energy in the North Sea can deliver decarbonisation targets by sending clean products to the mainland and exporting them to fuel-heavy or hard-to-abate industries.
The Northern Horizons initiative is a response to the Scottish government’s stated ambition to develop Scotland’s potential to export significant quantities of hydrogen. The government is targeting 5GW of hydrogen production by 2030 and is actively seeking international collaboration in the development of a shared hydrogen economy.
“Such innovation and private sector investment are key to meeting the UK and Scotland’s net zero targets and delivering the unprecedented ambition on display here in Glasgow at COP26,” said Sian Lloyd-Rees, managing director of Aker Offshore Wind UK.
The project, which could start production from 2030, will deliver predictability for a fit-for-purpose Scottish supply chain ready to support the energy transition towards 2045 and beyond. It would also create thousands of jobs and the investment of billions of pounds during construction and operation.
“This is a technically and economically feasible plan to deliver floating offshore wind at the scale needed to deliver clean energy products which can be used to help decarbonise fuel-heavy industries such as shipping and aviation,” added Lloyd-Rees.
The Aker companies and DNV are now embarking on a consultation project with governments and businesses to mature the project toward a future investment decision.
“To meet the targets of the Paris Agreement, the world needs to transition faster to a deeply decarbonized energy system,” said Ditlev Engel, CEO of Energy Systems at DNV. “This will require greater renewable power generation and electrification, but also extending the reach of renewable energy to hard-to-abate sectors that cannot be readily electrified – through conversion to green hydrogen and synthetic fuels.”
The project will utilise floating offshore wind turbines to produce 10GW of energy to power multiple floating installations which will produce green hydrogen for onwards transmission to a net zero hydrogen refinery on Shetland. Green hydrogen is produced when renewable energy is used to power the electrolysis of water.
The refinery – powered by floating offshore wind turbines – will produce a range of zero carbon energy solutions for local consumption and export across the world, including ammonia, liquid hydrogen, and synthetic fuels.
Floating offshore wind is the latest advent in renewable technology and this project will utilise giant turbines nearly as tall as the London Shard on floating platforms more than 130km from Shetland.
“I am proud that DNV has worked on this project that really does show a profitable business opportunity creating economic growth and new job opportunities, whilst contributing greatly to the UK’s net zero targets,” said Engel of DNV.
According to the report, enough liquid hydrogen will be produced to power 40 percent of the total mileage of local UK buses, as well as enough synthetic fuel to make 750 round trips from the UK to New York.