COP26 has put the issue of climate change higher up the agenda than it has ever been before.
That is true at government level, but it is also true at an individual level. We are behaving, or at least considering behaving, in quite different ways than we have before. I was in a bar in Edinburgh the other day where each item on the menu carried an estimate of the CO2 emissions used in its production. It nudged us into eating a climate-friendly lunch.
That is an isolated example, but it is typical of what is going on all around us. And if Scotland is to meet its target of net zero emissions by 2045, we’re all going to need to put our hands to the wheel.
My small but growing contribution is PlusZero. PlusZero is an innovative clean power start-up with a simple objective – to help tackle global warming by decarbonising the events sector. We create portable, zero-carbon generators powered by green hydrogen that will replace greenhouse gas-emitting diesel generators.
There is a tendency to think that hydrogen is something for the future, and it is. However it is also for the present, and we have already shown its use by providing emissions-free power for a number of events this year. Working with our partners CMB and Logan Energy, we have powered concerts at the Edinburgh International Festival, a series of COP26 receptions attended by Scottish and UK government ministers, and just last weekend we supplied green hydrogen to power the Extreme E electric rally in Dorset.
These were early tests of our innovative technology, but they worked, and because of them there is less CO2 around us.
There are limits to the availability of hydrogen over the next couple of years, but we will continue to scale up and have plans to power many more high-profile outdoor events in 2022.
When sufficient quantities of hydrogen are available, our portable power solution can be applied to myriad other industries which need longer-term power.
We are actively seeking £100 million to create a scalable green hydrogen production facility in the Western Isles. This will hugely increase our ability to decarbonise the outdoor events sector more quickly and to supply green hydrogen to support decarbonisation in other sectors too.
Scotland is often claimed to be world-leading at this, that, and the next thing.
However, this can be true of the Scottish green energy sector. We can legitimately and confidently say that we have Europe’s best natural resources to allow us to become world leaders in hydrogen: in production, supply, and the research and development which runs hand-in-hand.
The future possibilities are limitless. For now, though, we will build our profile as the supplier of portable power for outdoor events. Research shows that audiences and performers increasingly favour events with strong sustainability credentials. we aim to support a green recovery of the sector by providing clean power solutions which will attract sponsorship, high-profile performers, and audiences.
David Amos is Managing Director of Plus Zero