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I know many of you want to change the conversation. Surely it’s time for some good news? This year brought us one piece of bad news after another, so much so that we forgot about the other bad news we’d been fretting over before. The trepidations of a New-Year-No-deal-Brexit leaving us languishing alone outside of Europe, seemed distant in the face of a global pandemic that put lives and livelihoods at risk. Yet this latest Christmas lockdown seems to have delivered more gloom already.
Another area of concern in 2020 was in our local energy industry. We had the marine renewables company BiFab enter administration and continued concerns about the frequency of unplanned flaring at Mossmorrran. This led to more than one opportunistic local politician spotting a local economy destroying bandwagon to jump on.
So enough, we all need 2021 to be a year of hope.
And there is good reason to hope. We’ve yet to scratch the surface of the green energy potential of Fife. Up the road in Levenmouth, SGN’s project to deliver a domestic hydrogen heating network has begun. A world first – and putting Fife renewables on the map when attention is very much on hydrogen.
There is also potential in phase 5 of that project to make use of the hydrogen produced at Mossmorran and to take advantage of the pipeline between St Fergus and the Fife site for emerging carbon capture and storage industry.
Mossmorran is strategically well-sited to play a significant role in a net-zero carbon future, thus securing and expanding a skilled workforce at the plant and in the supply chain, as well as creating jobs across the decarbonisation industry and local businesses. I know patience ran thin a long, long time ago, but the improvement works are progressing and I will continue to press both operators and regulators to deliver.
As a by-product of existing operations, Mossmorran produces enough hydrogen to heat 140,000 homes. The Levenmouth project could see hydrogen integrate with existing networks, creating the potential for an extended decarbonised east coast network. If successful, this could ultimately lead to 170,000 miles of pipes heating homes and business across these islands.
All of this is beginning as the UK Government commit to creating a Hydrogen Town by 2030. As that hydrogen must come from somewhere, where better than Fife? Just think about the impact our small patch of the world could have on climate targets across the world.
So, my commitment to you, after the most difficult of years, is a promise to continue to speak loud and proud about our vast potential. Having hope, focusing on the good news, is a conscious effort I’m making in 2021. Join me.