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Move over, Coldplay! Sustainable first for HebCelt as stage to be powered by green hydrogen

HebCelt's Islands Stage will be  powered by green hydrogen.
HebCelt's Islands Stage will be powered by green hydrogen.

The 25th HebCelt festival will achieve a Scottish first by having one of its main performance areas powered by green hydrogen.

The Islands Stage in the main arena will use the zero-emissions energy for three days and nights, powering 12 acts.

It is the first festival in Scotland to run a full stage on green hydrogen consecutively for an entire event.

Coldplay aiming to cut tour’s carbon footprint

It adds to efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of major music events.

Coldplay’s 2022 world tour aims to cut emissions by 50% on 2016-207.

Static bikes part-powered their Earthshot performance in London last year.

Their current tour includes using clean energy and installing kinetic floors at some venues so energy from fans’ dancing helps power the show.

The 25th HebCelt is heading for a sell out.

HebCelt is the first major event in 2022 for Harris-based PlusZero. It uses clean power sourced from the company’s green hydrogen production facility in Stornoway.

The project has funding from EventScotland’s National Events Programme.

Paul Bush, VisitScotland’s director of events, said: “HebCelt has been central to the Outer Hebrides’ cultural offering for a quarter of a century now.

“It’s fantastic to see them not only mark this anniversary in style, but do so with such a focus on green energy.

“Scotland has an international reputation for its natural heritage.

Concertgoers ride energy-storing stationary bikes during Coldplay’s world tour. Photo by Rick Scuteri/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Green hydrogen to have a key role

“So it is important that events work in tandem with wider efforts in these areas offering sustainability for both the environment and the future of the industry.”

Green hydrogen is created using chemical processes powered by electricity from renewable sources.

It will potentially play a key role in the decarbonisation of energy for industrial and domestic use.

Inverness is a strategic hub for green hydrogen transport projects.

David Amos launched PlusZero in 2021. It is decarbonising the events sector by replacing diesel generators with portable, zero-carbon alternatives.

Texas are one of the headline acts at the 25th HebCelt.

In April, the company powered up its production facility at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Creed Park in Stornoway.

It generates green hydrogen from surplus electricity produced by local onshore wind  power.

Last year PlusZero provided zero-emissions power for performances at the Edinburgh International Festival. Artists included Damon Albarn and Anna Meredith.

These were days apart, whereas power will be provided for the duration of the Islands Stage performances at HebCelt.

In April, a report by the University of Edinburgh, commissioned by PlusZero, found 75% support among festival audiences for using green hydrogen instead of diesel generators.

David Amos said: “For 25 years HebCelt has brought together Scotland’s best traditional musicians and creatives to celebrate our shared musical heritage and culture.

HebCelt committed to environmental well-being

“To provide zero-emissions power for this iconic event that has such a strong community identity using green hydrogen produced here in the Outer Hebrides, is a source of great pride for PlusZero.

“Though rooted in tradition, the festival’s commitments to environmental well-being speak to the progressiveness of the Outer Hebrides community.

“PlusZero’s partnership with HebCelt demonstrates that we can share in the joy of live music events while minimising the impact of their footprint on our precious environment – preserving it for generations to come.”

HebCelt’s delayed 25th anniversary event takes place from July 13-16.

The festival, headlined by Texas, Seasick Steven and Tide Lines, is heading for a sell-out.

Seasick Steve is also headlining this year’s festival.

Festival director Caroline Maclennan said: “HebCelt has always been committed to finding ways to lessen our carbon emissions and to have an environmentally-sensitive event.

“To be able to make this significant step, which will see truly green energy used for one of our stages throughout the festival, is very welcome.

“The fact that we can source the power from a local provider, who in turn is using renewable energy in the production process, makes this development all the more attractive.

“We are grateful to EventScotland whose funding helps to make this possible.

“Their continued support has been vital to our bouncing back from the pandemic.

Hydrogen boosts HebCelt’s green credentials

“We are also delighted to be working with PlusZero who are breaking new ground with their innovative technology and ideas.

“We are sure our festival-goers will be excited to hear that we are doing everything we can for the environment.”

It is a further development of HebCelt’s green credentials.

The festival banned plastic straws in 2014 and all single-use plastics in 2018.

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