L-R: Councillor Ryan Houghton, convener of City Growth and Resources Committee, Louise Kingham OBE, bp’s UK head of country and senior vice president for Europe, Aberdeen City Council leader, councillor Jenny Laing. Image: Aberdeen City Council.

Energy giant bp has formed a joint venture with Aberdeen City Council, to operate a solar power and green hydrogen hub.

This follows a competitive tender run by the council which began in June, seeking a commercial partner for its Aberdeen Hydrogen Hub. The programme will involve the creation of a scalable green hydrogen production facility, the first in Scotland, according to the council.

Phase 1, which will include the delivery of the green hydrogen facility, is targeting operations by 2024. A new photovoltaic solar farm, green power purchase agreements and a private wire connection are all options to power the site, which will generate hydrogen for buses, heavy goods vehicles and large vans.

Aberdeen began using a fleet of 25 hydrogen powered buses, 60 public sector vehicles and waste trucks more than 10 years ago.

“This is a huge announcement for Aberdeen. It paves the way for the city to be a world leader in the production of hydrogen-based green fuel and energy,” said Aberdeen City Council leader, councillor Jenny Laing.

“It will help create a cleaner, more sustainable city for local people and it also provides us with the opportunity to create hundreds of skilled jobs and add millions to the Aberdeen economy.”

Beyond Phase 1, the project could be scaled to supply hydrogen for rail, freight and marine, as well as potentially heat and export. This would help maximise the value of growing renewable energy in Scotland.

“We look forward to working with Aberdeen City Council on this exciting project and are pleased that – following the competitive and robust public procurement process – we were able to position bp as the partner of choice,” added Louise Kingham OBE, bp’s UK head of country and senior vice president for Europe.

The development follows Aberdeen City Council being awarded a chunk of the Scottish Government’s Green Growth Accelerator (GGA) fund earlier in October, with the council also identifying the potential of solar and hydrogen at this point.

Green hydrogen is increasingly attracting attention as government and energy companies look to increase flexibility and maximise renewables to drive towards net zero.

Elsewhere in Scotland, ScottishPower is looking to develop up to 40MW of solar, along with up to 50MW of battery storage and a 20MW electrolyser as part of its Green Hydrogen for Scotland project.