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Aberdeen - Energy Transition

Aberdeen is a vibrant, entrepreneurial city in the North East of Scotland. It is also one of the most exciting and attractive locations in Europe to develop and accelerate low carbon projects and activities.

Friday, July 1, 2022
The Aberdeen City Region has long been renowned as a global energy hub, critical both in terms of UK energy security and in leading the energy transition, as it draws on a world-class oil and gas sector and supply chain skills. The region has been at the heart of the UK’s domestic oil and gas operations for many years.

However, Aberdeen’s non-fossil energy sector has grown significantly in recent years, boosted by the considerable talent pool of energy engineers and scientists in the area, as well as the abundant wind and tidal energy resources just off the coast.

Aberdeen has tangible energy transition plans that leverage the city’s unique cluster of assets and resources including supply chain capabilities, making it a natural choice for Aberdeen to become the leading climate-positive city that leads the world on the shift to a net zero future. Such resources include:

  • offshore renewable (wind) energy generation,
  • energy storage,
  • electricity interconnection,
  • hydrogen production and fuel cell deployment,
  • gas and hydrogen distribution, and
  • carbon capture, utilisation and storage.

In addition to the city’s climate positive ambitions, Aberdeen’s Net Zero Vision plan sets out the path Aberdeen needs to follow, considering its role as a world leader in utilising the energy sector as an economic driver for the city, the region and beyond. Moreover, the Strategic Infrastructure Plan – Energy Transition outlines the infrastructure projects which will contribute to the city’s energy transition from a fossil-based to a net carbon zero city, and ultimately a climate positive city over the coming decades.

ENERGY TRANSITION ZONE

ETZ Ltd is a private sector-led non-profit company founded in 2021. It was created to drive forward the vision of transforming the North East of Scotland into a global energy transition leader, as well as a top net exporter of energy transition technologies and skills.

At the core of ETZ Ltd is the ambition to deliver the Energy Transition Zone, a purpose-built green net zero space adjacent to the new £400 million Deepwater harbour development at Aberdeen South Harbour. This 70-hectare space will be a leading-edge catalyst for innovation and high-value manufacturing, a centre of excellence for offshore floating wind technology and other offshore renewables, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage. 

HYDROGEN ECONOMY

The Aberdeen Hydrogen Strategy outlines key actions required over a 10-year period to utilise the city’s significant potential for early deployment of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, as well as becoming the hub for hydrogen technologies in Scotland. Currently, the city boasts Europe’s largest fuel cell bus fleet and Scotland’s first facility for hydrogen production via water electrolysis.

H2 Aberdeen is an initiative working to bring about a hydrogen economy in the Aberdeen City Region. It will help reinforce the area’s position as a pioneering hydrogen city. Aberdeen is the UK’s leading hydrogen city with one of the largest and most varied fleets of hydrogen vehicles in Europe. This includes double decker buses and waste trucks, with hydrogen cargo bikes due to be in operation in 2022.

Over the lifetime of H2 Aberdeen, the city has hosted 85 Hydrogen Vehicles, including the world’s first hydrogen double decker bus, and hosts two publicly accessible hydrogen refuelling stations that can refuel buses, cars, HGVs and vans.

Aberdeen also leads on multinational partnership such as HyTrEc2, a project involving partners from the UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden and Norway to support the use of hydrogen in the transport and energy sectors in the North Sea Region.

Moreover, Aberdeen City Council is leading plans to make the city a world-class hydrogen hub. Named Aberdeen Hydrogen Hub, the project aims to commercially produce affordable green hydrogen from renewables to support the city’s transport as well as heating, industry and export projects. Bp was appointed as the commercial partner to work with the council to deliver the hub in 2022. The hub has the potential to create economic opportunities as part of an energy transition in the Aberdeen City Region, with £700 million gross value added to Scotland’s economy by 2030, and thousands of high-value jobs retained in Aberdeen and the surrounding region.

REGIONAL ENERGY TRANSITION PROJECTS

The North East of Scotland’s ambition is to be a globally recognised net zero energy cluster. To help the energy sector recover from the dual economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and the oil and gas price crash, the £62 million Energy Transition Fund (ETF) has been created to support oil, gas and energy businesses over five years as they grow and diversify to attract greener private sector investment in the region, helping Scotland meet its ambitious targets on climate change.

One of the outstanding energy transition efforts in the region includes the Hywind Scotland Pilot Park. The park is the world’s first floating wind farm off the Aberdeenshire coast and for its third consecutive year, the farm has reached the highest average capacity factor for any wind farm in the UK.

Further down the coast lies the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), Scotland’s largest offshore wind test and demonstrations facility at the time it was established, which annually displaces over 134,000 tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of removing approximately 35,000 cars.

Moreover, a number of offshore winds sites off the Aberdeen City Region’s coast have recently been awarded in the ScotWind licensing rounds, creating significant opportunities for the regional supply chain as well as the local and national economies.

On land, Aberdeen is home to the Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC) which aims to accelerate the energy transition by closing the gap in net zero technologies. NZTC has co-invested £163 million with the industry, commercialised 23 technologies and has generated £10-15 billion GVA potential to date.

The Acorn Project is based at the St Fergus gas terminal north of Peterhead, Aberdeenshire. Acorn CCUS is a £275 million carbon capture and storage project which, when completed, will capture CO2 emissions at St Fergus and transfer it to an underground storage site beneath the North Sea. St Fergus is home to three large offshore pipelines which can be re-used to take CO2 offshore, as they are no longer required to bring oil or gas onshore and are still in good condition. The Acorn Project is a low cost, low risk CCS project, designed to be built quickly, taking advantage of existing oil and gas infrastructure and a well understood offshore CO2 storage site. The project received £80 million of funding from the Scottish Government in 2022.

Representing a £333 million investment by Aberdeen City Council, The Event Complex Aberdeen (TECA) opened its doors in 2019 and is the UK’s most sustainable venue. One of the remarkable features of TECA is its modular energy centre: making use of advanced CCHP (combined cooling, heat and power) technology, the centre provides energy for both the Hilton Aberdeen TECA hotel and the main TECA building. The centre will also be home to a hydrogen fuel cells programme that will fuel the buses serving TECA as part of an ambitious integrated hydrogen transport project.

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