Gas company given all-clear to construct world’s first hydrogen-to-homes demonstration network on Scottish East Coast.
It was announced earlier today that Scottish Gas Network’s (SGN) plan to construct the world’s first 100% zero-carbon hydrogen homes for their customers in Fife has been given clearance by energy regulator, Ofgem. The project is called H100 Fife and its purpose is to supply 100% zero-carbon hydrogen to households in the Levenmouth area of Fife by 2022, allowing them to heat their homes and cook their food in a more energy-efficient manner.
During the project’s first phase it’s said that the network will heat roughly 300 local homes using clean hydrogen, produced by a dedicated electrolysis plant, powered by a nearby offshore wind turbine. A potential expansion of up to 1,000 additional homes could be considered following a successful first phase.
Plans for the project are still said to be pending local approval and construction will ready to begin in 2021. Local residents and customers will be invited to the hydrogen demonstration facility in anticipation of the network going live later in the year. The project is planned to operational for 4.5 years until March 2027.
SGN says that the project is the first of its kind to employ a direct supply of clean power to produce hydrogen for domestic heating and that it puts the small coastal area of Levenmouth at the forefront of the clean energy revolution.
The network will be both designed and constructed to meet the same high-safety and reliability standards usually expected by the current gas system and it will include an on-site storage unit with the capacity to hold enough hydrogen to ensure that the supply won’t be disrupted even during the coldest weather conditions.
SGN’s director of energy futures Angus McIntosh explains that “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”.
H100 Fife also aims to give Levenmouth residents insight into the project and the opportunity to be at the forefront of research into hydrogen heating systems. Eligible households will be able to participate in the project on an opt-in basis, meaning they can decide whether they want to switch to clean Hydrogen-powered homes or continue using their existing gas supply.
The initial 300 customers to join the network are promised a free hydrogen connection, free replacement hydrogen appliances and free maintenance for the duration of the project, and it’s said that they will be pay the same amount for the hydrogen gas as they would for natural gas.
According to SGN, the new network is a means of helping to meet the Government target of bringing all greenhouse gas emissions to a net zero by 2050 – which Scottish Public Finance Minister, Kate Forbes invested £220 million into – and follows confirmation from Ofgem that they will award up to £18m from its annual Network Innovation Competition to support the development.
Ofgem Chief Executive, Jonathan Brearley said “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’s commitment will trigger further investment of £6.9m from the Scottish Government.