SCOTLAND will generate enough power from revolutionary green hydrogen to heat 1.8 million homes by 2030 and add up to £25 billion to the economy as a key strategy to become carbon neutral by 2045.

The Scottish Government will put forward £100 million over the next five years into the expanding hydrogen sector in a bid to enable the country to become a key player in the clean hydrogen industry.

The strategy is also being used to kickstart a recovery from the Covid-19 economic crisis - amid predictions the hydrogen industry could be worth up to £25 billion to the Scottish economy by 2045.

READ MORE: Carbon gas heating to be banned from new homes in Scotland

Ministers want to generate 5GW of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen by 2030 – enough to power 1.8 million.

Green hydrogen can be produced through a process called electrolysis which uses wind turbines to create and store it and can also be made from excess renewable electricty.

Scotland has an estimated 25 per cent of all the wind resource in Europe and is set to increase offshore capacity to 11GW by 2030, along with onshire wind power capacity of 8.4GW.

In Fife, SGN is hoping to build the world’s first 100 per cent green Hydrogen network which will power 300 homes in Levenmouth.

HeraldScotland: How green hydrogen is produced through electrolysis (Picture: SGN)How green hydrogen is produced through electrolysis (Picture: SGN)

Earlier this month, the Scottish Government launched proposals for all new build homes to have heating systems that produce zero direct greenhouse gas emissions amid its pledge to become a carbon neutral country by 2045 - paving the way for green hydrogen to be harnessed.

 The Scottish Government has now published a hydrogen policy statement which suggests the technology could have “an important role in generating new economic opportunities in Scotland”.

READ MORE: How Scotland can kickstart the economy through green energy

The document adds that in order for Scotland to meet its target of becoming carbon net-zero by 2045, “our whole energy system will need to rapidly transform to meet the changing needs of consumers and society”.

It adds: “We recognise that we cannot achieve our hydrogen ambitions alone. “Many of the regulatory and legislative levers required are determined at a UK level. We, therefore, require the UK Government work with us in building a flourishing hydrogen economy.”

In the document, Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse points to economic impact assessments showing that “in the most ambitious scenario”, where Scotland becomes established as an exporter of green hydrogen to Europe, where there is already showing demand, “could result in a £25 billion annual gross contribution to Scotland’s gross value added (GVA) with over 300,000 jobs supported by 2045”.

READ MORE: SNP under fire for 'illusory promises' in climate change plan

He adds: “The report suggests that this would be achieved by unlocking Scotland’s vast offshore wind potential, resulting in Scotland producing large-scale, ‘green hydrogen’ that is competitively priced within a growing European market.

“Analysis tells us that Scotland could produce enough hydrogen to meet our demand and also support an export market to Europe. Our policies will be focused on support for the development of a low-cost hydrogen capability to meet an initial ambition of generating 5GW of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen by 2030 and at least 25GW by 2045.”

READ MORE: Derelict sites to be transformed with £50m Scottish Government fund

Next year, the Scottish Government will publish its hydrogen action plan which will set out what actions are needed for ambitions to be turned into reality – alongside £100 million of funding for research, development and access to clean hydrogen production between 2021 and 2026.

Mr Wheelhouse added: “Hydrogen is rapidly emerging across the international community as a sustainable solution for the decarbonisation of the economy and a key element of the energy transition picture.

READ MORE: Scotland's green transport plan risks being 'left behind'

“Scotland is prepared to play its full part together with other European nations – that’s why we’re publishing this key policy statement today and investing £100 million of Scottish Government resources to stimulate the sector and its supply chain.

“Scotland has, in abundance, all the raw ingredients necessary for the production of low-cost hydrogen as well as one of the largest concentrations of offshore engineering expertise in the world that can harness Scotland’s renewable energy potential in technologies like wind, wave and tidal power, to produce green hydrogen.

READ MORE: UK taxpayers to stop funding overseas oil and gas projects

“Indeed, Scotland is one of the best placed nations anywhere in the world to develop competitively priced hydrogen for our own economy’s needs and to generate a surplus in supply to export to other European nations with emerging demand, but insufficient supply to meet their own needs.

“No one fuel or technology is, by itself, the solution to climate change, but hydrogen has the potential to be a very important part of a progressive, decarbonised energy system supporting our transition to net zero in transport, heating and industrial decarbonisation. We are committed to supporting this emerging sector to deliver a transformation in how we produce, store and utilise energy and to maximising the economic benefits that the production of hydrogen can bring.”

Chief executive of the Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, Nigel Holmes added: “We welcome this Hydrogen Policy statement which underlines the opportunity for Scotland to be the leading hydrogen nation, and puts us on the right path to deliver net zero by 2045. “This ambition builds on the experience and lessons learned with projects in Aberdeen, Fife, Orkney, and the Western Isles. Islands and ports will be hubs for energy innovation, bringing together large-scale renewables for green hydrogen production.

“The identified capacity of 25GW of electrolysis by 2045 will produce 126TWh per year of green hydrogen across Scotland, with 32TWh to deliver Scotland’s net zero target and 94TWh of green hydrogen for export.”