Offshore Wind-to-Whisky Project Launches in Scotland

Several Scottish companies have launched a plan to produce green hydrogen in Cromarty Firth using offshore wind power, part of which would then be used to power whisky distilleries in the Highlands.

The plan, involving the Port of Cromarty Firth, is part of the North of Scotland Hydrogen Programme which aims to produce, store and distribute hydrogen to the region, Scotland, other parts of the UK and Europe.

Offshore Wind-to-Whiskey Project Launches in Scotland
North of Scotland Hydrogen Programme Masterplan. Source: Port of Cromarty Firth

A feasibility study into this kick-starter Distilleries Project will begin this month and is due to be completed in June.

It is being privately funded by partners including ScottishPower, drinks giants Glenmorangie, Whyte and Mackay and Diageo and Pale Blue Dot Energy, who are also leading the project.

The power would be supplied from current and future wind farms off the coast of the Cromarty Firth, as well as onshore schemes, and fed to the hub.

”The delivery of green hydrogen to Glenmorangie, Whyte and Mackay and Diageo will give them the opportunity to decarbonise the heating of their distilleries and maltings, which are situated close to the Cromarty Firth.” Bob Buskie, Chief Executive of the Port of Cromarty Firth, said.

”This would be achieved by using hydrogen as a substitute for fossil fuels to create the energy needed to make steam so the distilling process can be achieved.”

Up to 15 new offshore wind sites are due to be developed in the coming years, with a significant number of the schemes on the ‘doorstep’ of the Cromarty Firth, the Port of Cromarty Firth said.

That, along with the Port’s deep waters, established facilities and location at the end of the gas grid and in close proximity to large amounts of renewable energy, make the area perfect for a green hydrogen hub.

”It is clear that hydrogen will not only help us end our contribution to causing climate change, but could also create significant economic opportunities in Scotland and, in helping sustain new economic opportunities in a port that has a long track record as a supply chain hub for offshore energy developments,” Scotland’s Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said.

”It will also support the Just Transition of the North Sea supply chain. The North of Scotland Hydrogen Programme is an exciting example of collaboration and regional hydrogen innovation required to realise the significant economic and environmental potential that hydrogen presents in Scotland.”

Photo: Port of Cromarty Firth