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Assessing the potential of hydrogen storage for the Scottish Government

31st Aug, 2023

A new report delivered by Gemserv highlights the importance of hydrogen storage and power generation in Scotland. With wind energy curtailment reaching record high level in Scotland the report, commissioned by ClimateXChange on behalf of the Scottish Government, calls for more real subsurface trials, public engagement and policy certainty.

The report assessed a range of hydrogen storage technologies. We found that hydrogen storage will play a critical role in balancing the Scottish energy system that has large amounts of intermittent renewable energy. To help exploit the opportunity of offshore wind energy, it can supplement other forms of energy storage, such as pumped hydro and batteries. This is due to the greater scale and duration of storage provided by hydrogen. However, there is not one silver bullet. All hydrogen storage technologies considered, and most energy storage types, are likely to be needed to support the flexibility of the energy system. The size of the role and use cases will vary significantly between technologies, with most of them supporting longer-term, weekly, monthly and seasonal storage.

The full report provides a techno-economic, environmental, regulatory and policy analysis of eight hydrogen storage and four electricity storage technologies. Further technical tables can be found in the appendices. Based on the findings of the report, Gemserv has made recommendations to public bodies such as the Scottish Government, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, Ofgem and the emerging Future System Operator.

Szebasztian Csernik-Tihn, Economic Analyst at Gemserv, said:

Short- and long-term storage will be key to maximise the economic, environmental and energy security benefits of hydrogen. As Scotland does not have suitable onshore geology for larger scale underground salt caverns, a range of hydrogen and electricity storage technologies will be needed to ensure system flexibility, cut curtailment costs and exploit the vast renewable potential of Scotland.

The recommendations include:

  1. Feasibility studies and real subsurface trials are needed in the short-term in porous media and lined rock cavern storage.
  2. Clear guidance and information on the production, storage and use of hydrogen could be provided to stakeholders, residents living near hydrogen sites and the general public, as public buy-in is key in meeting Scotland’s net zero ambitions.
  3. Strategic planning, cooperation between the UK and devolved governments and the emerging Future System Operator will be critical to cut renewables curtailment and maximise the system benefit of energy storage.

Authors

Szebasztian Csernik-Tihn

Economic Analyst

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