Community Energy Scotland has written a position paper on hydrogen to support the Hydrogen Integration for Accelerated Energy Transitions (HI-ACT) centre. This paper forms our opinion about hydrogen in Scotland at the time of writing (October 2022) and you can read it here.
We have supported community groups in numerous hydrogen related innovation projects including: Outer Hebrides Local Energy Hub (OHLEH), Surf ‘n’ Turf and Building Innovative Green Hydrogen systems in Isolated Territories (BIG HIT).
Community Energy Scotland doesn’t view hydrogen as a goal but as a potential way to reduce human impact on the climate. We see that the integration of renewably generated hydrogen into Smart Local Energy Systems could deliver on low carbon societies in the future. We do not support hydrogen production that uses fossil fuels and emits carbon dioxide as a by-product as it hinders our vision of “communities actively shaping a low-carbon society that values wellbeing for all”.
At present, the real-world performance of hydrogen technology is lacking and the Integration Readiness Level is low. Without an established market for hydrogen, commercial viability is some way off. Two major barriers for hydrogen production are the need for upskilling local workforces to be able to maintain hydrogen systems, and the sourcing of adequate quantities of suitable water.
In the long term, hydrogen could reduce the amount of renewable generation capacity that is needed to meet peak demand by providing long-term energy storage, peak lopping, and other grid services. Traditional network reinforcement is required across most of Scotland to enable further renewable generation; it is our opinion that this is preferable to replacing diesel with hydrogen in power stations run by Distribution Network Operators.