Green hydrogen investment boon: RES and Octopus pledge £3bn in UK, Ineos €2bn in EU

Pictured: Ineos' operations in Rafnes

The announcement from Ineos came today (18 October), with the energy and chemicals giant touting the package as the largest ever single investment commitment in green hydrogen from Europe’s private sector.

The first electrolysis unit to be built as part of Ineos’s package will be a 20MW facility at Rafnes, Norway, where the business already produces ethylene, propylene, chlorine, hydrochloric acid, caustic soda and vinyl chloride. Hydrogen will be used to power these production operations and will also be provided to external transport firms.

Also confirmed is a 100MW electrolyser in Koln, Germany, co-located with Ineos’s ammonia and plastics production facilities. Further projects will be announced for Belgium, France and the UK as part of the investment package, separately to the £1bn investment already confirmed for blue hydrogen production and use at Ineos’ site in Grangemouth, near Falkirk.

The investment plans come almost a year after Ineos launched a new arm with a specific focus on green hydrogen through its Inovyn subsidiary.

Ineos’ chief executive Jim Ratcliffe said: “Europe is crying out for more investment in green hydrogen and [our] announcement today shows our determination to play a leading role in this important new fuel.”

Ineos’ overarching climate commitment is to net-zero by 2050. Interim targets for reducing emissions across the business through to 2030 are due to be published in the coming months. Green groups including ClientEarth have been urging the business to provide more detail as soon as possible, given its past record of environmental controversies including fracking, and purchasing divested plastics production capacity from BP.

RES and Octopus

Also investing a multi-billion-pound package in green hydrogen production is energy generator and retailer Octopus, which last week confirmed that it has partnered with renewable energy developer RES.

The two firms will invest £3bn in green hydrogen production by 2030. Details have not yet been confirmed as to the number or capacity of planned projects, with both firms stating that they wish to partner with large industrial businesses to deliver projects.

Octopus’ Renewables arm manages more than 300 solar, wind and biomass projects, collectively valued at £3.4bn. RES, meanwhile, is the world’s largest independent renewable energy company, boasting more than 22GW of generation capacity delivered to date.

“Supply of green hydrogen will be critical to the success of many industries in meeting the UK’s net-zero targets,” Octopus Renewables’ co-head Alex Brierley said.

“With this partnership, we are providing a solution for those businesses to help deliver on the Government’s ambitions.”

The UK is targeting £4bn of investment in green hydrogen and blue hydrogen – the latter of which is produced using natural gas in facilities co-located with carbon capture arrays – through its Hydrogen Strategy. The Strategy was published in August after a string of delays, with analysts predicting that it will lay the foundations for increased investment in the UK’s clean energy space in the next six months.

In the lead-up to the Strategy’s publication, and in the months that have followed, plans have been revealed for several major low-carbon hydrogen projects. A consortium including The Port of Cromarty Firth and ScottishPower are assessing plans for up to 15 new offshore wind sites, to power a new electrolyser, for example. Separately, ScottishPower is planning to co-locate a 20MW electrolyser with its Whitelee onshore wind farm. Elsewhere, TotalEnergies has forged a consortium striving to develop a green hydrogen production facility and maritime refuelling hub at Orkney’s Flotta terminal.

As for England, BP is proposing a blue hydrogen production hub in Teesside, while Trafford Green Hydrogen subsidiary Carlton Power is planning an industrial-scale facility in Carrington.

Sarah George

Comments (1)

  1. Richard Phillips says:

    Would it be pertinent to ask what happens to the oxygen which I presume to be a product of the electrolysis, but is never mentioned?
    The problems which must accompany the vagaries of renewable energy, i.e. wind, seem also never to be mentioned.
    My own preference for controllable carbon free energy would certainly be in the nuclear sector.
    Richard Phillips

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie