Illustration of a floating turbine. Image credit: Cerulean

Green infrastructure developer Cerulean Winds has signed a lease agreement with px Group in order to progress its plans for an integrated 200-turbine floating wind and hydrogen project in the North Sea.

Under the agreement, UK-based asset manager px Group would be responsible for lease and ownership arrangements for the sites and for obtaining planning permissions and permitting. The three onshore hydrogen sites would be located in the North of England, North-east Scotland and on the Scottish island of Shetland.

The Cerulean project proposal has capacity to generate 3GWh of power, enough to electrify the majority of offshore facilities and reduce CO2 emissions by more than half from 2025. An excess of 1.5GWh of power would be diverted to onshore green hydrogen plants.

The proposed project. Credit: Cerulean

Dan Jackson, Cerulean Winds founding director, said: “This project, which would see the offshore industry helping cut emissions from onshore industrial sites, is a real turning point in the shift towards a joined-up approach to tackling accelerating the decarbonisation of the UK’s on and offshore industrial facilities.

“The North Sea Transition Deal calls for a reduction in offshore emissions of 10% by 2025, rising to 25% in 2027 and 50% by 2030. The Cerulean proposal would exceed these targets. Crucially though, the green power would be used to generate green hydrogen which can be used to decarbonise other industrial sectors.

The progression of Cerulean’s £10 billion ($14 billion) green infrastructure plan hinges on a decision from Marine Scotland. A favourable decision, says Cerulean, must be made by Q3 this year to progress the scheme to meet the timescales set out in the North Sea Transition Deal.

“Timing is absolutely crucial in this,” said Jackson. “Everything hinges on those leases being granted, even conditionally, by this autumn so we can move ahead on schedule. The risk of not moving quickly on basin-wide decarbonisation would wholly undermine the objectives set out in the North Sea Transition Deal and delay the potential of making a significant impact on reducing emissions from onshore industrial assets.”

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px Group, which owns Saltend Chemicals Park in Humber, manages, operates, and maintains some of the UK’s largest industrial facilities, including the NSMP St Fergus Gas Terminal near Peterhead. This new agreement would see px Group operate the hydrogen generation facilities and the associated onshore infrastructure, including the onshore substations and grid connections.