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HydroGlen and the Just Transition Hub have been awarded over £13million from the Scottish Government's Just Transition fund


HydroGlen and the Just Transition Hub have been awarded over £13million from the Scottish Government's Just Transition fund to establish two pioneering action-based research science projects.

The organisations will focus on providing sustainable solutions to Scotland's future food, environmental and water security concerns.

HydroGlen is a green hydrogen-powered farming community pilot based Glensaugh. Through the development of renewable-generated electricity, HydroGlen will support the energy needs of both the farm and its community of seven associated households.

It will provide a scalable and replicable concept for farming and other rural communities to demonstrate how to become self-reliant, net-zero carbon energy producers and exporters. HydroGlen will demonstrate how 100% of the community's electricity, heating and transport fuel energy requirements can be self-generated renewably.

The Just Transition Hub is a state-of-the-art facility which will be based at the Institute's campus in Aberdeen. This will see collaboration with a range of stakeholders to develop nature-based, net-zero solutions for issues such as community renewable energy development, flood management, sustainable groundwater access, biodiversity enhancement and peatland restoration.

A new building will combine virtual and physical space, which will act as an incubator for 'spin out' companies drawing on the Institute's science to develop new products and services. It will also offer in-person and on-line scientific, institutional and business events and a public café. 

The Just Transition Hub is expected to create over 200 jobs and bring in £1.6m annually to the regional economy.

Speaking of the funding, Professor Colin Campbell, CEO of the James Hutton Institute said:

"Given that around 45% of people in the North-East live in rural areas, the potential of HydroGlen to accelerate the decarbonisation of rural energy and transport is large. The Just Transition Hub will be an open and inclusive facility which will work with a range of partners on creating new products, new jobs and encourage investment. These are tremendous examples of our action-based science and will create real impact for our society. My thanks to the Scottish Government for this award and for their continued trust in our science".

Professor Alison Hester, Leader of the Institute's Climate-Positive Farming Initiative at Glensaugh and who led the HydroGlen bid said:

"HydroGlen being selected for funding is a big step forward for green hydrogen innovation in Scotland and beyond. In our changing climate, where the frequency of storms such as Storm Arwen left some rural North East communities without power for many days; the successful development of HydroGlen as a key research and demonstration facility will offer much needed innovative and practical energy solutions for the region and beyond." 

Professor Lee-Ann Sutherland, Director of the International Land Use Study Centre, who led the Just Transition Innovation Hub bid, said:

"This is wonderful news. We expect the Just Transition Hub to become the 'go to' place for net zero research and innovation, not only in the North East but in the whole of Scotland. It will be a place where stakeholders and collaborators from across the world can work with us on providing evidenced-based scientific solutions to the critical challenges that lie ahead for our food and environmental security".

HydroGlen will submit planning permission imminently, with construction expected to commence in 2024. The Just Transitions Hub will see a feasibility study in 2022 and planning permission for the new build will be submitted in 2023 with construction predicted to begin in 2025.