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Taking stock following a year of partnership between Hamburg and Scotland

Taking stock following a year of partnership between Hamburg and Scotland

I’m happy to report that during the year since we signed our agreement with the Hamburg Senate to work together on green hydrogen and hydrogen technologies, not only has Scotland’s hydrogen potential continued to grow, but our relationships with our partners and friends in Germany and throughout Europe have also become even closer.

Our efforts to further intensify cooperation with our international partners were also highlighted in our Hydrogen Action Plan that we published yesterday. This action plan sets out the specific steps that the Scottish government is taking to help Scotland’s emerging hydrogen sector meet its target of 5 GW of renewable, low-carbon hydrogen by 2030 and 25 GW of renewable, low-carbon hydrogen by 2045. Scotland therefore has the potential to supply up to 126 TWh of green hydrogen per year by 2045, including up to 94 TWh for export to Europe and the rest of the UK. This represents an export potential of around 2.5 million tonnes of hydrogen per year by 2045.

The technology associated with this has enormous potential for the successful implementation of a ‘just transitionfor our energy sector. It provides us with the greatest industrial opportunity since the discovery of oil and gas in the North Sea, while supporting our transformation towards climate neutrality. Our existing oil and gas infrastructure, experienced workforce in the energy, oil and gas sectors and a supply chain geared towards the energy transition are all factors crucial to establishing the leading role that Scotland can and aims to play in the emerging global hydrogen market. We have a long history of innovation in the energy sector, along with world-class research centres, test facilities and companies with expertise across the hydrogen value chain. We also have over 40 years’ experience as an energy exporter.

We have the vast natural resources, people and ambition to assume our desired leading international role in hydrogen production, for both the domestic market and export to Europe. We therefore have a solution for our friends and neighbours who are looking for countries beyond their own borders that can produce and supply hydrogen on a large scale. We are open to the world and actively seek opportunities to work with international partners to accelerate the development of the green hydrogen sector.

With this in mind, I’m delighted to announce that the Scottish government is supporting the LHyTS project. This project will play an important role in testing and developing our hydrogen export routes as we continue to expand our hydrogen capacity and export potential in the years ahead. The route under consideration is from Scotland to Rotterdam, but the findings will also apply to ports on the North Sea coast – including Hamburg and Wilhelmshaven. Scotland is just 750 km from the German coast and has excellent links to the principal hydrogen import locations on the northern European mainland – to Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, for example. This also gives us the opportunity to establish ourselves as a hub between the North Sea region and Ireland.

Our agreement with the Hamburg Senate in November 2021 was followed by a business trip to Hamburg in April 2022 and another memorandum of understanding between Renewable Energy Hamburg and the Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association. In September, 32 Scottish companies attended WindEnergy Hamburg and my counterpart, Ivan McKee, opened the Hydrogen Conference. It was also a great pleasure for Scotland to attend the Port Workshop in Hamburg in November, which partly built on June’s Scot2Ger report confirming Scotland’s potential to become an exporter of clean, green hydrogen to Germany.

We aim to strengthen our existing international partnerships, including and specifically with Hamburg. I’m looking forward to making this happen in 2023. Of course, this includes continuing our traditional ‘green whisky’ tastings – because it’s always a pleasure to join you in savouring whisky from the growing number of Scottish distilleries that have switched to carbon-neutral whisky production.


Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy & Transport