Government ministers have come under fire for refusing to commit to contributing towards a hydrogen energy facility worth more than £200 million.
Last year Aberdeen City Council approved the creation of the hydrogen hub in a bid to facilitate the city’s move away from oil and gas.
A new facility will be built to receive the gas from external sources.
Additional hydrogen-powered vehicles will also be purchased as part of the project, for which a contract worth £215 million went out to tender last week.
£20m of funding for hub
Nearly £20m is believed to have been contributed so far by the local authority and the Scottish Government.
However, there has so far been no indication that the UK Government will follow suit.
Stephen Flynn, the MP for Aberdeen South and the SNP’s spokesman on business, energy and industrial strategy, asked government minister Grant Shapps to commit to providing funding for the project.
However, Mr Shapps instead said Mr Flynn should “press the Scottish Government” to ensure it meets its “statutory targets for carbon cuts”.
“I am very pleased to say that we have in many senses backed this because we of course are making sure that the consequentials from all our decisions, including those decisions on decarbonisation of transport, are made in such a way that the government of Scotland is able to benefit from them.
“I think it’s very good to work closely together on these things.”
The hydrogen hub, which was approved by councillors in October last year, will also see the city become a centre for the production, storage and distribution of the gas.
Council chiefs believe the hub will cement Aberdeen’s position as “the energy capital of Europe”.
Lack of funding ‘unforgiveable’
Mr Flynn said the government’s failure to commit to funding the project was “unforgiveable”.
“The key to transport decarbonisation will be the availability of sustainable fuel, something which the Scottish Government and the council have recognised in backing Scotland’s first commercial, at scale, hydrogen production and distribution facility right here in Aberdeen,” he said.
“Aberdeen must be at the forefront of the energy transition and, whilst it’s great to see the Scottish Government and the council working in partnership to achieve that aim, the refusal of the UK Government to make any financial contribution to the new hub is deeply disappointing.
“I asked the Secretary of State, in good faith, to back Aberdeen’s renewable future but he clearly wasn’t interested in the project – given how much our city has contributed to the Treasury over the years that response was unforgiveable.
“This clear statement that Westminster won’t be committing a single penny to our hydrogen hub will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of many – if the Tories are serious about net-zero, serious about protecting the future of Aberdeen, then the cheque book must be out.”