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Green hydrogen agreement could make Highlands a leader in decarbonised transport Net zero technology specialist Getech Group signs agreement with Highland Council to develop a green hydrogen network across the region

By Calum MacLeod

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Luke Johnson, mananging director of H2 Green and Jonathan Copus chief executive of H2 Green parent company Getech in Inverness.
Luke Johnson, mananging director of H2 Green and Jonathan Copus chief executive of H2 Green parent company Getech in Inverness.
Luke Johnson, mananging director of H2 Green and Jonathan Copus chief executive of H2 Green parent company Getech in Inverness.
Luke Johnson, mananging director of H2 Green and Jonathan Copus chief executive of H2 Green parent company Getech in Inverness.

A NEW agreement between Highland Council and a leading carbon reduction technology business could pave the way for the Highlands to become a leading innovator in low carbon transportation.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the council and H2 Green Limited, a subsidiary of low carbon technology specialist Getech is aimed at the creation of a region-wide network of green hydrogen hubs.

The initiative, which Highland Council is supporting with a £100,000 investment, will accelerate the decarbonisation of the Highland Council area.

Under the MoU, H2 Green and Highland Council will produce a regional plan for a network of green hydrogen hubs which will place hydrogen production, storage and delivery infrastructure at optimal locations across the region.

It will also look at ways of securing customers for both the green hydrogen produced by the hubs and the by-products of hydrogen generation, including oxygen and zero-emission heat.

Getech chief executive Jonathan Copus commented: “The signing of the MoU is a significant milestone for our plan to establish a world-class regional hydrogen network in the Highlands.

“At the core of this network is our first planned hydrogen hub with SGN Commercial Services in Inverness, which will service large-volume customers. In line with these goals, we have already announced agreements with Eversholt Rail to accelerate the wide-scale deployment of hydrogen-powered trains on the Far North and West Highland Lines.

“These activities combined with the Highland Council initiative are set to establish the Highlands as the leading UK centre for decarbonisation and innovation; they will also support job creation, deliver energy security and provide a sustainable path for the region’s net zero transition.”

Highland Council leader Margaret Davidson, said: “I am excited about the potential benefits this agreement could bring.

"For too long the Highlands has seen its natural resources exploited for the gain of others. We are entering a new era a renewable energy. The Highlands has a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of the green energy revolution and make sure those benefits – environmental and financial – are retained in the area for future generation to come.”

Marcus Hunt, director of commercial services and investments at SGN, said: “SGN is fully committed to supporting decarbonisation and the development of the Hydrogen economy and this is an exciting development on that journey with H2 Green and the Highland Council, helping to bring zero carbon fuel and wider economic benefits associated with the H2 economy to the Highlands region.”

Councillors also re-stated the authority’s commitment to work with Opportunity Cromarty Firth on the development opportunities that could arise from a green freeport bid.

In addition, members agreed that the council should seek involvement and backing of the Scottish Government to provide a legislative and regulatory framework that supports the local authority’s ambitions for Highland communities and people.

Councillor Trish Robertson, who chairs Highland Council's economy and infrastructure committee, said: “The green agenda is very fast moving indeed, and it is crucial that the council is best-positioned to react quickly and respond flexibly in order to maximise opportunities that are likely to come forward in the weeks and months ahead.

“By investing in this area, the council not only stands to benefit financially with the creation of potentially sizeable and sustainable income streams but will also be able to make progress towards net zero and provide long-lasting benefits to Highland communities.”

Highland Council’s Sustainable Highland Budget strategy for 2022/23, agreed as part of the collaborative budget, will provide £2 million of investment to help tackle the climate and ecological emergency, and invest in green energy and jobs.

Depute Leader Councillor Alasdair Christie added: “It is anticipated that there will be a financial return on the investment as well as a major contribution to the council’s net zero agenda. Going forward, it is great to know that there are numerous opportunities to work with the private sector to deliver schemes in the Highlands, with a view to securing substantial long term income streams and I very much welcome today’s agreement to enter into an MoU with H2Green.”

Discussions are being held with partners such as Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration 32 Partnership to ensure that a prospectus of the opportunities that can be delivered in Highland is prepared and resourced as the projects evolve.

Many of the port facilities in Highland will have great opportunity to benefit from the short, medium, and long-term opportunities.

Whilst Scotwind and the committed off-shore renewables sector provides a massive opportunity, there remains high levels of industry interest in on-shore wind development as well as significant hydro schemes.

Corporate resources committee chairman Councillor Jimmy Gray, added: “It is important the current work being undertaken through the transformation agenda to ensure maximum benefit arising from those schemes in terms of infrastructure improvements is maintained and strengthened.”

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