Developing Floating Wind and Green Hydrogen

In the late 13thC Scotland and France signed the Auld Alliance. It was a closeness between the two nations that was to last for centuries, including the future Queen of the Scots being married to the prospect of a future King of France.

In the 21stC it’s not Royal marriages but the enormous potential for development of renewables in wind and hydrogen that is powering a new potential alliance. A report just published by the Scottish Government is recommending a ‘ Franco-Scottish collaboration in the floating wind and hydrogen sectors’.

The report Fostering future Scottish-French research and development collaboration in floating wind and green hydrogen was produced by Orkney’s EMEC in partnership with French engineering firm INNOSEA and London-based The Renewables Consulting Group (RCG), part of ERM

Dr James Walker, Hydrogen Development Manager at EMEC, said:

“In delivering this project, we had many fruitful discussions with organisations from across the full floating wind and hydrogen value chains in Scotland and in France. All of those discussions underscored the significant upcoming opportunities for organisations in both countries to work together, and the many exciting research questions which we can busy ourselves in answering.”

The team made 4 recommendations:

  1. Target engagement at regional levels in France
  2. Encourage research collaboration through network building.
  3. Develop a research, test and demonstration platform specifically targeting projects showcasing the integration of floating wind and hydrogen systems
  4. Instil a focus on ‘Just Transition’ and skills development in these initiatives.

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport in the Scottish Government said:

“Scotland has some of the best wind resource in the world, and floating offshore wind will play an important role in supporting our just transition to becoming a net zero economy by 2045 – not just for its contribution to clean electricity generation, but as a key driver of the developing hydrogen economy in Scotland.

“We will continue to maximise opportunities in new innovations and emerging technologies, including in the integration of these two important sectors, which is why I am pleased to see the outcome of this collaborative project and its recommendations.

“Strong international partnerships will be critical to developing Scotland’s hydrogen economy and delivering our net zero objectives. I look forward to further collaboration between France and Scotland in the continued development of this work.”

The Economist ( 21st July 2021) reported that:

Royal Dutch Shell, an oil and gas company, and Scottish Power, a subsidiary of Iberdrola, a Spanish electricity utility….were, they said, jointly submitting proposals to the British authorities to build, off the coast of Scotland, the first large-scale set of floating wind farms in the world.

The Economist

Scotland has huge natural resources and a skilled, innovative workforce which large companies clearly recongise the potential of.

Commenting on the report of a future collaboration between Scotland and France Hakim Mouslim, Chief Executive Officer at INNOSEA, said:

“The findings of this project represent a turning point in unlocking opportunity ahead in the floating wind and hydrogen value chains of our two countries, in particular regarding innovation activities and de-risking supply chain for the integration of these technologies.

“This in turn, lays the initial foundations of a roadmap for collaborative innovation of floating wind power for green hydrogen production, that is both scalable and competitive – potentially a game-changer in our race to net-zero.”

The report states:

when considering floating wind to hydrogen projects, hydrogen is expected to offer an efficient method of large scale, long-distance energy transmission. This means it is well placed to help integrate ever-increasing shares of power produced by offshore wind generators where the most abundant sources are often long distances from significant demand centres.

Dan Kyle Spearman, Associate Director and Floating Wind Lead at RCG, said:

“Hydrogen from floating wind will be a key vector for deep decarbonisation of industries globally. In our report, we’ve outlined recommendations on how Franco-Scottish partnerships can be leveraged to accelerate the commercialisation of these technologies.

“We are grateful to have been involved in a successful collaboration between Scottish Government and industry, as well as our partners EMEC and INNOSEA, and we’re excited for the future opportunities in this sector.”

Image courtesy of Scottish Enterprise

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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