Hydrogen Production Plant at Gordonbush Wind Farm

SSE Renewables has submitted a screening request to The Highland Council to consider plans for a proposed Hydrogen Production Plant, which would be co-located at Gordonbush Wind Farm, 2km north-west of Brora.

Important Documents

The application documents can be found on this webpage, via the following links, or on the Highland Councils e-Planning Portal website here, using the application reference numbers noted below.

The Proposed Development

The proposed development comprises of 2 main components: a green hydrogen production facility and a battery storage system. These would be located within the existing infrastructure of Gordonbush Wind Farm as shown here.

At this stage, the detailed design of these elements has not been fully developed and a level of refinement of the scheme is expected prior to submission of the planning application.

Green Hydrogen Facility

The proposed facility would produce around 2000 tonnes of Green Hydrogen, by splitting the elements of water (H2O) into the component parts of Hydrogen and Oxygen, using a process called Electrolysis.

Under the new plans, the Green Hydrogen would be produced by SSE Renewables at Gordonbush wind farm using Siemens Gamesa’s Renewable Hydrogen Upgrade solution.

The initial indicative layout can be viewed here and would involve the following infrastructure:

  • modular electrolysis units;
  • fixed Hydrogen storage;
  • hydrogen storage tube trailers;
  • auxiliary process plant;
  • dispenser units to fill the tube trailers;
  • infrastructure for water supply and treatment;
  • internal access roads;
  • foundations and hardstandings (including construction of site drainage);
  • perimeter security fencing; and
  • security lighting.

The platform would reuse the existing infrastructure wherever possible, including the existing access tracks.

During peak production of the scheme, it is anticipated that approximately 8 tonnes of green hydrogen would be produced per day.

Battery Energy Storage Site (BESS)

The proposed development would also include a battery energy storage system which would be capable of storing any surplus, or constrained, renewable energy produced by the wind farm at times of excess wind on the electrical grid. This would allow such excess green energy to be stored in batteries for possible later use, including the potential to power the electrolyser for green hydrogen production or to dispatch to the national grid at times when the wind is not blowing.

There would be approximately 16 containers located within the BESS compound and these would house battery cells and control system. An underground cable connection would connect the BESS to the main electrical busbar of the existing Wind Farm substation.

A separate planning application for the BESS will be submitted to the Scottish Government Energy Consents Unit.

Safety

Safety lies at the heart of SSE Renewables. Keeping the public safe and making sure that everyone working for us gets home safely at the end of their day takes precedence over everything we do. We do everything safely and responsibly or not at all. The production and storage of hydrogen is closely regulated to ensure high levels of safety are adhered to at all times. This is through the design, installation, operations and transportation processes.

As part of our carefully considered proposals, we have submitted an application for a Hazardous Substance Consent from the Hazardous Substance Authority (HSA) which, similar to a planning consent, is required for both the production and storage of hydrogen.

During this application the HSA will liaise with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and The Highland Council, to consider the hazards and risks which the development may present to the surrounding area and consider the proposed development location.

In addition to this, we have also submitted notification for Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) to obtain a COMAH License. These regulations ensure continuously high safety standards are adhered to when undertaking the production and storage of hydrogen. This application will determine whether our safety measures meet the COMAH regulations sufficiently during the construction and operation of the facility.

Community Investment

SSE Renewables is a proud member of the communities in East Sutherland area as a developer, constructor and operator of important assets across the region.

Value Delivered Across East Sutherland
  • £2.4m allocated projects within the Gordonbush area since 2011
  • £6.7m to be invested in East Sutherland communities over the wind farms’ lifetime
  • Gordonbush Apprenticeship Scheme supported 26 businesses, 34 young people, with
  • 14 still actively engaging in learning.

Since 2011, the SSE Renewables Gordonbush Community Fund has awarded over £2 million in
grants for various initiatives across the East Sutherland area.

Through the years, the Gordonbush Community Fund and Gordonbush Extension Community Fund have supported initiatives aimed at improving skills and training opportunities, social care, and sustainable tourism.

You can find more information on the Gordonbush Community Fund here.

Contact Info

If you have any queries or wish to speak with the project team, please contact:

Jade O'Hara, Stakeholder Engagement Manager

Email: jade.ohara@sse.com

Phone: 07436 482792