The report, a feasibility study commissioned from Glasgow-based consultants Fraser-Nash by the consortium behind the development of the energy hub, looked at the technical aspects and demand for Green Hydrogen locally.
They confirmed that the change to the town’s gas supply could be implemented within the next ten years. The study also looked at options for use of the gas in local public transport, including inter-island and mainland ferries, and for export of the gas to UK and European markets with the same positive results.
The report “resoundingly" concluded that the plans can be delivered and last week councillors on the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar's Sustainable Development Committee backed a recommendation that the authority “recognises and pursue the opportunities to replicate Green Energy production, storage and distribution principles at other locations throughout the Outer Hebrides”.
The report stated that the production of Green Hydrogen had been constrained across the UK by the absence of commercial markets, but for the Outer Hebrides this changed in 2019 when Scottish Gas Networks “indicated an interest” in converting its Stornoway n etwork to Green Hydrogen. SGN has more than 1700 customers in the Stornoway area.
During a presentation on their study to councillors, Fraser-Nash also confirmed that there is sufficient energy supply from local wind farms to enable production of the gas at Arnish without compromising the case for the inter-island connector cable.
The comparative high cost of hydrogen, some four times that of other carbon fuels the consultants confirmed, was highlighted in the meeting, but the consultants said that there is “no cheap option” for decarbonising fuels.
The Outer Hebrides Energy Hub proposed for Arnish is being developed by a consortium of public bodies and energy production firms and is set to receive funding of £11m under the terms of the Islands Deal.