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Whitelee Solar PV, Green Hydrogen and BESS Development - Introduction

ScottishPower Renewables (UK) Limited (SPR) is currently in the process of developing an exciting and highly innovative development directly adjacent to the UK’s largest onshore windfarm at Whitelee, on the outskirts of Glasgow.

SPR’s proposal is for the development of a combined Solar PV, Green Hydrogen Production and Storage Facility and Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) project located at East Kingswell, immediately to the northwest of the operational Whitelee Site. The Solar PV and Green Hydrogen Production Facility site is located largely within an area previously considered for windfarm development (Whitelee Windfarm Extension Phase 3).

The Development applications will comprise all three technologies (Solar PV, Green Hydrogen and BESS) with the Solar and Green Hydrogen Production and Storage Facility being located directly adjacent to each other at East Kingswell, whilst the BESS compound is located embedded within the existing Whitelee EXT Windfarm, 800m west of the EXT substation. The Solar PV array is anticipated to have a total MW capacity of between 20 and 30MW, with the Green Hydrogen Production and Storage Facility being able to produce up to 10 tonnes of hydrogen per day. The BESS element will be able to charge and discharge up to 50MW of power, with a storage duration of up to 2 hours (100MWhrs of storage).  Each component of the development complements one another, with the Solar PV powering the Green Hydrogen Production Facility specifically whilst the BESS provides crucial grid stability for both the Development as well as Whitelee Windfarm as a whole. SPR will be seeking planning permission for the Solar PV and BESS elements through the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit (ECU) and the green hydrogen facility being decided by the Local Planning Authority, East Ayrshire Council. Further detail on the consenting route is provided within this consultation page.

 As a result of national and local restrictions at the time of this consultation, it was not possible to undertake a physical public event. The expectations of undertaking a public event have, themselves, changed and in this regard the Scottish Government notes within the Coronavirus (Covid-19): Planning Guidance on Pre-Application Consultations for Public Events that:

“The COVID-19 emergency means it is not currently possible to hold public meetings without unacceptably posing a significant risk to public health. So that the development management system can continue to function and that planning application can continue to be submitted, we have put in place legislation to temporarily suspend the requirement for a public event in relation to Pre-Application Consultation”

Notwithstanding the interim measures in place to suspend statutory requirements for public events, SPR is conscious of the value of public engagement and have therefore progressed with this event and welcome any comments you may have.  Feedback can be provided by clicking the link at the bottom of this page which will direct you to the project email inbox.  We cannot guarantee that every comment will receive a written response, however all comments raised will be reviewed and considered by the project team prior to submission of the applications.

SPR Background

SPR is part of the ScottishPower group of companies operating in the UK under the Iberdrola Group, one of the world’s largest integrated utility companies and a world leader in wind energy. ScottishPower is proud to now only produce 100% green electricity – focusing on renewable sources of energy, smart grids and driving the change to a cleaner, electric future.

SPR is at the forefront of the development of the renewables industry through pioneering ideas, forward thinking and outstanding innovation. Its ambitious growth plans include expansion of its existing onshore wind portfolio, investment in new large-scale solar deployment and innovative grid storage systems, including batteries. The company is also delivering the Iberdrola Group’s offshore windfarms in the Southern North Sea off East Anglia.

With more than 40 operational windfarms, SPR manages all its sites through its world-leading control centre at Whitelee Windfarm, near Glasgow, where the Development is located.

Project Background

As announced in September 2020, ScottishPower Renewables is  part of a pioneering partnership to create new green hydrogen production facilities with clusters of refuelling stations across Scotland, supporting the country’s efforts to achieve net zero by 2045.

‘Green Hydrogen for Glasgow’ is a partnership designed to provide carbon- free transport and clean air for communities across the city, which wants to become the first net-zero city in the UK by 2030. It also supports the Scottish Government’s decarbonisation targets and Glasgow City Council’s commitment to creating a zero-emissions vehicle fleet, using only electric and hydrogen powered vehicles by the end of 2029.

This project is being developed in order to provide the necessary renewable energy sources required in order to power a green hydrogen production facility and to further improve the existing infrastructure upon Whitelee Windfarm. The Development’s location on the outskirts of Glasgow and close to the M77, means it is perfectly situated to support this goal, and help deliver clean, green hydrogen, utilising both existing and new renewable assets.

Renewable energy production is very dependent on weather conditions - for example, wind speed at a wind farm, or cloud density over a solar site. There are times where renewable generation might be high but demand for that electricity is low, and vice versa. As we move away from consistent but carbon-intensive sources of generation (like coal burning) and towards more variable renewable sources, we need a way to smooth that variance out and ensure that the supply of electricity always matches the demand.

Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) allow excess generation to be stored when demand is low and used later, rather than that electricity being wasted. Batteries are Green technology and produce no emissions or pollution during normal operation. As Battery Storage technology can react to changes on the network very quickly it can also provide Stability services to the Grid during generation/demand fluctuations, which will reduce the incidence of power cuts and ensure that electricity supplies remain stable.

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