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SSE and Equinor plan "one-in-a-kind" blue hydrogen plant for Humber region

Existing power station at Keadby / Source: SSE

Plans have been revealed for a new low-carbon power station in what is becoming one of the UK’s most-favoured areas for such initiatives. SSE Thermal – the SSE division responsible for the group’s flexible generation and energy storage activities – and energy giants Equinor unveiled plans on April 8th for a “clean power hub” near Scunthorpe in the Humber region.

The hub will be comprised of a blue hydrogen-fuelled power station and a fossil gas power plant equipped with carbon capture technology. If completed, the partners claim that it will be the world’s first large-scale power station run purely by blue hydrogen fuel produced using fossil fuel gas. Blue hydrogen is the hydrogen with fossil origins whereas green hydrogen is produced from renewable energy.

SSE and Equinor claim that the plans will “support the UK’s transition to net zero and accelerate the decarbonisation of the Humber”, an area which houses the UK’s largest and most carbon-intensive industrial cluster responsible for 12.4 million tonnes of industrial CO2 each year. With potential to create thousands of skilled green jobs, the output from the two decarbonised power stations – Keadby 3 and Keadby Hydrogen – would replace carbon-intensive generation on the electricity grid.

Keadby 3 has the potential to deliver 15% of the targeted 10 million tonnes of carbon captured annually by 2030 and Keadby Hydrogen could account for a third of the UK’s hydrogen production target of 5GW. The projects are in the development stage as SSE and Equinor continue dialogue with the government, regulators and stakeholders.

Already under construction is Keadby 2 which is expected to become the cleanest and most efficient gas-fired power station in Europe when it is completed next year. The Humber region was one of the UK’s industrial heartlands included for special attention in the government’s 10-point plan for a “green industrial revolution” released in 2020.

Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), said: “The Humber region is at the heart of our commitment to tackle climate change and is already on the frontline of developing vital clean technologies which will change the way people’s homes and businesses are powered while slashing emissions…revitalising this industrial heartland as the UK build back greener”.

Beyond the rhetoric, the most visible manifestation of development in the region is Zero Carbon Humber. This is the partnership between heavyweights like Drax, Equinor, SSE, British Steel, National Grid, Centrica and others – a partnership which is beginning to notch up successes in their ambitious plans for the area.


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