Plans to develop a major energy zone in the north east of Scotland to fast-track the shift from oil and gas to low-carbon technologies have been unveiled.
The Energy Transition Zone (ETZ) – described by Sir Ian Wood as a “transformational project” – aims to strengthen the region’s position as a global energy hub to capitalise on billions of pounds worth of opportunities as the UK move towards its goal of net zero carbon emissions.
Under the plans, Opportunity North East (ONE), Aberdeen City Council and the Aberdeen Harbour Board will work together to provide the physical infrastructure and collaborative environment for greater investment in areas such as offshore wind, hydrogen and carbon capture.
The ETZ will leverage Aberdeen Harbour Board’s £350m expansion plans which will see a new South Harbour facility to accommodate large scale renewable industry activity.
The zone also aims to provide a focal point for academic and industry research, building on established energy-related research of the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University.
Sir Ian Wood, chair of ONE, said: “Our region has made an invaluable contribution to the UK’s energy requirements over the last 50 years and we can now add to this with a significant contribution to the net zero objective.
“There is a huge opportunity through the rapid transfer of oil and gas experience, assets and skills to accelerate the delivery of low carbon solutions as well as more carbon efficient oil and gas production.
“The ETZ is a transformational project and has a vital role to play in catalysing the transition of Aberdeen from an oil and gas capital to a global integrated energy cluster. This will help anchor a broad energy supply chain, create and secure high value jobs, drive export growth and help deliver the UK and Scotland’s net zero carbon goals.”
The next stage under the plans for the ETZ is to move the concept forward with industry and partners.
Scotland’s Minister for Energy, Paul Wheelhouse said: “The oil and gas industry has a key role to play in a sustainable, secure and inclusive energy transition and we want to work with the industry to ensure that vision is realised and to see the 105,000 people whose jobs are supported by the sector have a sustainable future in the net zero emission economy we need to deliver.
“Initiatives like the ETZ could play a pivotal role in making that transition possible, by exploring how to develop renewable technologies related to technologies such as offshore wind, Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) and deployment of hydrogen and derivatives of hydrogen in our energy system, as well as increased investment in energy efficiency.
“The ETZ will help support new jobs, develop and diversify markets for the supply chain in the City and Shire, and help Aberdeen transition from being Europe’s oil and gas capital to being recognised as a truly global energy city for the 21st Century and beyond.”