The Highland Council is currently considering a planning application from ScottishPower and Storegga, on behalf of the Cromarty Hydrogen Project, for the erection of a hydrogen production and storage facility at land east of Beinn Tharsuinn Windfarm at Edderton.
The proposed development would form part of the North of Scotland Hydrogen Programme, recognised in the Scottish Government’s Hydrogen Action Plan. The Programme aims to develop hydrogen production hubs across the North of Scotland to supply hydrogen, initially to meet industrial and heavy goods vehicle (HGV) transport demand in the near term and then expand to cater to additional hydrogen demands in the future.
The Cromarty Hydrogen Project originated from a collaboration between the Port of Cromarty Firth, ScottishPower, Glenmorangie, Whyte & Mackay and Diageo and the project originator, Storegga. It is looking to develop a green hydrogen production hub in the Cromarty Firth region and revolves around the local distilleries forming the baseload demand for early phases of the project, which would enable them to decarbonise in line with their own ambitions and sector targets.
Pre-application consultation with the Highland Council has been ongoing since autumn 2021, as have public consultation events at key stages in the development process.
The feasibility study for Cromarty Hydrogen outlined a four-phase approach to developing a regional hydrogen cluster involving up to 300MW of electrolysis across a minimum of two sites. Originally this included an expansion of hydrogen production at Beinn Tharsuinn but this will no longer happen.
Cromarty Hydrogen has shortlisted several locations across the Cromarty & Inverness Green Freeport region for the expansion to meet the envisaged hydrogen demand for the region and wider Highlands.
A decision on the current planning application is not expected until later this year.