Equinor and SSE Thermal have announced plans to develop a pair of “first of a kind” low-carbon power stations in the UK.
The project, in the Humber region, will comprise one of the country’s first power stations with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, and the “world’s first 100% hydrogen-fuelled power station”.
Equinor and SSE, who recently teamed up on the huge Dogger Bank windfarm, said these projects have the potential to create thousands of skilled jobs.
It comes after it was announced the Humber would be given freeport status by the UK government along with Teesside, the latter region being earmarked for the UK’s largest blue hydrogen production facility being developed by BP.
Equinor and SSE said the two decarbonised power stations – Keadby 3 and Keadby Hydrogen – would form a “clean power hub” near Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, being among the first to utilise CCS and hydrogen tech.
— SSE Plc (@SSE) April 8, 2021
Both sites are in the development stage and final investment decisions “will depend on the progress of policy frameworks that are commensurate with the delivery of this critical net zero enabling infrastructure”, Equinor said.
Keadby 3 could deliver 15% of the target for capturing 10million tonnes of carbon annually by 2030, while Keadby Hydrogen could account for a third of the 5GW hydrogen production goal.
Both will replace older, carbon-intensive electricity generation on the grid.
Kwasi Kwarteng, UK secretary for business, energy and industrial strategy, said the Humber region is at the “heartland” of the government’s climate change goals.
He added: “This new partnership will ensure that world-first technology is being developed in Scunthorpe and across the Humber, creating green jobs and bringing new investment which will benefit local communities and businesses – revitalising this industrial heartland as the UK builds back greener.”
Stephen Wheeler, managing director of SSE Thermal, said: “With over 12 million tonnes of annual carbon emissions, ideal transport and storage options, and major energy and industrial companies working together, the Humber has to be at the centre of the UK’s decarbonisation strategy.”
The projects will use parallel hydrogen and CO2 pipeline infrastructure being developed for the Zero Carbon Humber partnership, and offshore CO2 infrastructure developed by the Northern Endurance Partnership.
Both schemes won public funding from the UK’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund in March.
As well as Dogger Bank, the work builds on SSE and Equinor’s other partnerships such as joint ownership of the Aldbrough Gas Storage facility in East Yorkshire.
Grete Tveit, senior vice president for Low Carbon Solutions at Equinor, added: “They are a further step in Equinor’s ambitions for the Humber, following on from our H2H Saltend project that will start producing low-carbon hydrogen at scale by the mid-2020s.
“We believe these technologies are vital for heavy industry, flexible power and other hard-to-abate sectors to achieve net zero emissions, while also ensuring a just transition for industrial communities.”