Government ministers have again failed to commit to funding for a ground-breaking hydrogen hub tipped to revitalise the energy sector.
Last year Aberdeen City Council backed the creation of the green energy project as part of plans to reduce the north-east’s reliance on oil and gas and secure a more sustainable future.
A total of around £20 million has already been contributed to the project by the local authority and the Scottish Government.
However, when Aberdeen South MP Stephen Flynn asked UK transport secretary Grant Shapps if the government would follow suit, he declined.
The minister instead told Mr Flynn to contact Holyrood, even though the Scottish Government has already set aside millions of pounds for the hub.
Following his rebuttal in Westminster, the north-east MP then wrote to Chancellor Rishi Sunak to ask him to reconsider – a request which has received no response.
Government refuses to commit to funding
A government spokeswoman said hydrogen infrastructure would be an “essential” part of plans to achieve net zero – but refused to say whether ministers would provide funding for the hub.
“Low carbon hydrogen will be essential for meeting our legally binding commitment to achieving net zero by 2050, with more details to be set out in our forthcoming hydrogen strategy,” she said.
“In this year’s budget, we committed support for the Aberdeen Energy Transition Zone, helping to support innovative new green industries and jobs in north-east Scotland.
“Our landmark North Sea Transition Deal – the first of its kind by any G7 country – will ensure Aberdeen is not left behind in the transition to a low carbon future.”
The hydrogen hub, which was approved last year, will see the city become a centre for the production, storage and distribution of the gas.
City leaders believe it will cement Aberdeen’s position as the “energy capital of Europe”.
‘Kick in the teeth’ for city
Mr Flynn said the government’s failure to commit to the project cast doubt on its energy transition ambitions.
“The planned Hydrogen Hub is a great example of both the Scottish Government and local authority working together to try and build a more sustainable future for Aberdeen,” he said.
“The fact that the Tory government in Westminster has so far refused to part with a single penny of support is a real kick in the teeth given – how can they even talk about a just transition for our city if they aren’t willing to back it up with action?
“The reality is that can be no just transition without Aberdeen leading the way and if the UK Government have a genuine ambition to reach net-zero, whilst protecting the future of our city, then Rishi Sunak needs to open his cheque book and back this project.”