UK energy regulator Ofgem and the Scottish government have set aside up to nearly GBP 25 million to finance a project that will use offshore wind power to produce green hydrogen energy for heating homes in Fife, Scotland.
Being developed by the gas network operator SGN, the H100 Fife project aims to use the electricity generated by the 7 MW Levenmouth demonstration offshore wind turbine to produce green hydrogen.
The hydrogen will then be used to heat around 300 homes in Fife.
SGN shareholders and Britain’s three other gas distribution networks are also providing funding for the project.
Work will now begin on delivering a 100 per cent hydrogen demonstration network in Levenmouth, with the commissioning scheduled for the end of 2022.
The clean gas will be produced locally, by a dedicated electrolysis plant powered by the Levenmouth turbine. According to SGN, the project will be the first of its kind to use a direct clean power supply to produce hydrogen for domestic heating.
“H100 Fife is the UK’s priority project in this area and is designed to demonstrate hydrogen distribution and in-home performance in a real-world setting,” Angus McIntosh, SGN’s Director of Energy Futures, said.
“It’s an exciting opportunity to revolutionise the way millions of people heat their homes. The hydrogen appliances will connect to the existing pipes in the home for zero carbon heating and cooking with minimal disruption and with no need to replace existing radiators or plumbing.”
Customers in Fife will be given the chance to participate in the world-first demonstration, SGN said. Any customer that opts-in to the project will receive a free hydrogen connection, free replacement hydrogen appliances, and free maintenance over the length of the project. They will pay the same amount for hydrogen gas as they would pay for natural gas.
Ofgem will fund the project through its annual Network Innovation Competition.
“The high level of ambition shown by bidders in this year’s Network Innovation Competition is hugely encouraging and shows the energy industry getting behind the challenge of net zero,” said Jonathan Brearley, Ofgem’s Chief Executive.
“The winning projects were those which showed the most potential to make the game-changing leaps in technology we need to build a greener, fairer energy system at the lowest cost to consumers. Ofgem will continue to back the best of innovation, which will help drive the green recovery and enable consumers to reap the benefits up to 2050 and beyond.”
Replacing natural gas with hydrogen and other low-carbon alternatives will be key if the UK and Scottish Governments are to meet legally binding net zero emissions targets, SGN said.
H100 Fife is seen as a critical first step as the UK aims to develop 5 GW of hydrogen production capacity and a first “Hydrogen Town” by 2030. The project was singled out by the Prime Minister during the launch of the UK Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.