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Scots and German renewables groups to collaborate on offshore wind and hydrogen

23 September 2020

Irina Lucke of WAB and Dan Finch of Ocean Wind for DeepWind

Irina Lucke of WAB and Dan Finch of Ocean Winds during virtual signing ceremony

Renewable energy industry groups in Scotland and Germany are joining forces to boost the production of both offshore wind energy and green hydrogen.

The north of Scotland’s offshore wind cluster organisation, DeepWind, has today (Wednesday 23 September) signed a three-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) with its German counterpart, WAB.

DeepWind is an industry-led cluster, initiated in 2019 by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) in partnership with Scottish Enterprise with offshore wind developer Ocean Winds as the industry champion.

It now has more than 450 members, including 22 developers, which is unique in the UK and reflects the level of interest in deploying Scotland’s significant energy expertise into offshore renewables.

The MoU will see both clusters collaborating on initiatives relating to the production of offshore wind and its use in producing renewable electricity for green hydrogen generation.

It will provide networking and matchmaking opportunities for supply chain companies in each cluster.

WAB and DeepWind will exchange and analyse information, experiences and insights and inform each other about progress in joint projects. The aim is to boost the renewable energy industry and benefit supply chains in both countries.

Scotland has a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind resource. This huge natural asset creates some of the best conditions in Europe for large scale green hydrogen production.

Signing the MoU for DeepWind was Dan Finch, UK Country Manager for Ocean Winds, who said:

“We’re on the cusp of an exciting opportunity for the North Sea to play an even more central role in the UK and European clean energy mix. Ocean Winds is delighted to support DeepWind and this MoU to unlock the potential for growth through collaboration.

“Overseas market entry can be a difficult move for SMEs which form the bulk of the DeepWind cluster membership. This MoU with WAB will form one of the strands of support to reduce and remove barriers to entry for cluster companies able to establish partnerships or identify gaps in local provision.

“Closer working between the two clusters could also highlight and accelerate opportunities for innovation in offshore wind and green hydrogen production between Scotland and Germany.”

Heike Winkler, WAB managing director, said:

“We noticed a lot of common ground between WAB and DeepWind cluster members during our delegation visit to Aberdeen earlier this year and we are looking forward to deepening our cooperation.

“As an innovation cluster organisation, we have been supporting our member companies since 2002 related to industrial development of on- and offshore wind energy. We believe that our members will bring valuable experience in developing offshore wind power and ‘green’ hydrogen to this partnership and that our collaboration initiative will be beneficial to both sides.”

Irina Lucke, chair of the WAB executive board, signed the MoU for WAB. She said:

“Cross-border collaboration on offshore wind and ‘green’ hydrogen will be essential to unlock the potential of these technologies in Europe to implement the ‘European Green Deal’ and to protect our climate.”

Scotland’s Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said:  

“We very much welcome this partnership which seeks to boost the renewable energy industry and benefit supply chains in both Scotland and Germany. This is doubly important as in this priority sector as we move towards economic recovery.

“We’ve already supported a number of world-leading hydrogen demonstration projects in Scotland and our forthcoming Hydrogen Assessment will set out our capabilities and potential in the emerging European and global hydrogen economies and flag up the scale of opportunities that can be harnessed for supply chain development.

“This agreement has the potential to develop new economic opportunities for both Scotland and Germany and to grow the offshore wind and hydrogen sectors more quickly. It will strengthen the commercial relationship between our two countries and support our joint efforts to achieve a net-zero emissions future.”

 

DeepWind is one of two Scottish clusters formed as part of the UK offshore wind sector deal. The other is Forth & Tay.

Bremerhaven-based WAB e.V. is the nationwide contact partner for the offshore wind industry in Germany and the leading business network for onshore wind energy in Germany’s north-west region. Founded in 2002, the association comprises some 250 smaller and larger businesses as well as institutes from all sectors of the wind industry, the maritime industry as well as research. WAB e.V. supports the realisation of growing, complete and cost-efficient value chains in the offshore wind industry, the onshore wind industry and is committed to supporting the emerging market of “green” hydrogen in Germany and other regions. Earlier this year, the German federal government has spelled out a goal to install 40 GW of offshore wind in German waters until 2040 and unveiled its hydrogen strategy that includes a long-term goal for the production of “green” hydrogen.

 

Scotland has some of the world’s best renewable energy resources including 25% of Europe's offshore wind, extensive wave and tidal resource and over 60% of the UK's onshore wind capacity. This wealth of natural resources may offer a route to the large scale production of green hydrogen, creating a significant export opportunity for green hydrogen produced in Scotland and transported to destinations in Europe and the wider UK.

In June 2019, the Scottish Government announced its ambition to become Net Zero by 2045 and we support innovation in hydrogen initiatives, while also exploring the practicalities of decarbonising Scotland’s energy system using hydrogen produced from a variety of sources.

Hydrogen has the potential to play an important part in a low-carbon future and features strongly in the Scottish Government’s Energy Strategy as a possible way to assist the comprehensive decarbonisation of the Scottish heat, industrial and transport systems.

The Scottish Government has a strong track record of supporting a number of world-leading hydrogen demonstration projects in Scotland including the hydrogen bus fleet in Aberdeen and the world’s first hydrogen production from tidal energy in Orkney which now hosts a £65m portfolio of hydrogen projects and initiatives.

The Scottish Government launched a £62 million Energy Transition Fund in June 2020 which includes a range of hydrogen projects and aims to establish the city of Aberdeen as a model hydrogen region (a fleet of over 60 hydrogen vehicles operates in Aberdeen and 15 new double decker hydrogen buses will join the fleet this year). The Scottish Government has also provided £6.9 million this year as a contribution to the H100 Fife project which aims to build the world’s first 100% hydrogen heat network supplying hydrogen for heating to over 300 homes.