Funding helps Kintyre explore new green energy production

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With considerably more wind farms per square mile than the national average, Kintyre is a leading player in the renewables sector but now the area is branching out into a new kind of green energy production.

Machrihanish Airbase Community Company (MACC) has secured £181,170 of funding through the UK Government’s UK Community Renewal Fund which will be used for its Hydrogen Futures Project.

This builds on previous work done on the development of hydrogen production and supply from the former RAF Airbase.

‘It is great news for MACC to have secured this funding,’ said MACC chairman Cameron McNair.

‘Sustainability is at the core of the MACC purposes and the possible opportunities that hydrogen offers communities is very exciting.

‘This project will allow MACC to make significant strides towards realising those opportunities.’

Green hydrogen can be used in areas where electrification can’t or won’t reach, like heavy transport and high temperature industrial processes.

The Hydrogen Futures Project will investigate potential consumer markets for green hydrogen in the Argyll and Bute region and how to implement the production and distribution of green hydrogen on the MACC site.

ScottishPower will partner with MACC on the project. The energy company has a number of onshore wind farms in Argyll and Bute and hopes to replicate the socio-economic benefits that these bring to the area, including the creation of direct and indirect jobs, through the development of green hydrogen in the region.

‘We’re really excited to work with our partners MACC to explore the opportunity of a green hydrogen facility here in Machrihanish,’ said Barry Carruthers, hydrogen director at ScottishPower.

‘The growth of renewable energy goes hand-in-hand with unlocking green hydrogen benefits for communities across Scotland.

‘Bringing a facility here would ensure the communities in Argyll and Bute are able to directly benefit from the green hydrogen revolution we expect to see across Scotland over the next 10 to 15 years.

‘We have worked extensively in Argyll and Bute to ensure renewable electricity is available to the region, and by now looking at green hydrogen production in the area, we can look to support industry and transportation with another zero-emission, clean fuel.’

It came as plans for a battery storage facility near Carradale were discussed by Argyll and Bute Council’s planning, protective services and licensing committee on Wednesday.

According to the National Grid, battery storage systems are devices that enable energy from renewables like solar and wind to be stored and then released when customers need power most.

Intelligent Land Investments Group submitted a pre-application notice to Argyll and Bute Council for a site south of Auchnasavil Farm.

The applicant has indicated that it intends to launch a project website and hold a public consultation event in Carradale Village Hall to keep the community up-to-date with the plans.

A council planning officer said that no formal planning application can be lodged until December 24 at the earliest, 12 weeks after the pre-application notice was submitted.

They added that a letter from the Scottish Government’s chief planner, dated August 27, 2020, stated: ‘The Scottish Government considers that a battery installation generates electricity and is therefore to be treated as a generating station.

‘As a result, a battery installation should be treated as any other generating station for the purposes of deciding whether Section 36 consent is required for its construction and operation.’

The planning officer added: ‘In this case, as the generating capacity would be greater than 20MW and less than 50MW, this would be a major planning application.

‘The site, which measures approximately 3.3 hectares, is located approximately 2.5 km to the northwest of the settlement of Carradale and sits between Carradale Water and the B842.’