OGA publishes study on role of Bacton as a clean energy hub


The OGA has published a short-version report of a study by Progressive Energy on Bacton’s potential to become a significant hub for clean energy and hydrogen.

The report highlights the role for a combination of natural gas to make blue hydrogen and wind to produce green hydrogen. It noted the potential for “very significant hydrogen demand” in the Bacton Catchment Area in a context where “Bacton wind farms could produce nearly 40% of the Government’s 40GW by 2030 target” for offshore wind. This could be the equivalent of almost 20% of the 5GW low-carbon hydrogen production target set by the Government by 2030, it outlined. The report also makes the case for potential use of constrained wind energy for generation of hydrogen at Bacton with blending into the National Transmission System. It notes that producing hydrogen through otherwise curtailed wind energy could meet 50% of local hydrogen demand.

Natural gas reserves for blue hydrogen production were outlined to potentially be sufficient “to last until the 2040s” with carbon captured and stored offshore from Bacton. Blue hydrogen with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) could reduce emissions equivalent to nearly 15% of the 10-Point-Plan’s target for removal of 10MT of CO2 by 2030. Nuclear energy was also flagged as a potential contributor to hydrogen production with Sizewell B and the planned Sizewell C offering scope for higher load factors for hydrogen produced through electrolysis. (See our summary on the potential for Sizewell and hydrogen here).

Opportunity was also highlighted for Bacton to contribute to decarbonisation in wider parts of GB such as in London and the South East of England across domestic, commercial and industry and transport demand sectors.

In May 2021, Hydrogen East published its report on the role of Bacton in stimulating hydrogen development across Norfolk and Suffolk. The report compliments recommendations made by the OGA-commissioned study, with granular analysis on potential hydrogen demand build-out across New Anglia Local Authorities for road, rail, heating and power generation through to 2050. It also supports the potential role for green hydrogen through the region’s significant offshore wind resource and nuclear facilities, in addition to an abundance of solar PV and other distributed generation. The proximity of Bacton to the Southern North Sea and its access to natural gas reserves into the future also creates significant scope for blue hydrogen production at the terminal. The Hydrogen East study Summary Report can be accessed here.