The Anonymous Widower

Cromarty Firth And Forth To Host First Green Freeports

The title of this post, is the same as that, of this article on the BBC.

This is the sub-heading.

Sites at Cromarty Firth and the Forth have been selected to host Scotland’s first green freeports.

These three paragraphs outline the deal.

The winning bids were revealed in a joint announcement by the UK and Scottish governments.

The special economic zones north of the border are being created under a scheme agreed by the two governments.

The successful applicants will be able to offer tax incentives and lower tariffs in the zones.

At least it seems that Westminster and Holyrood are in agreement.

What Is A Green Freeport?

This article on the BBC, is entitled Freeports: What Are They And Will They Help The Economy?.

It is a good summary of freeports in the UK.

This press release from the UK Government is entitled Joint Cooperation To Deliver Two New Green Freeports In Firth Of Forth And Inverness And Cromarty Firth, contains this statement from Deputy Scottish First Minister; John Swinney.

This is a milestone achievement in the process to deliver Green Freeports for Scotland. Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport and Forth Green Freeport will support businesses to create high-quality, well-paid new jobs, promote growth and regeneration, and make a significant contribution to achieving our net zero ambitions.

A rigorous joint selection process has been followed. The successful applicants showed a strong determination to embed fair work practices, including payment of the Real Living Wage, and to enshrine net zero initiatives in their work.

We look forward to working closely with them to ensure they deliver maximum positive impact and become operational as soon as possible. We will also work with the unsuccessful bidders to consider how they can build on the plans set out in their bids to deliver jobs and growth in their regions outside the Green Freeports programme.

Scotland has a rich history of innovation, trade and manufacturing and as we look to seize the many opportunities achieving net zero offers, the creation of these internationally competitive clusters of excellence will help us to create new green jobs, deliver a just transition and support our economic transformation.

This statement may be a lot more about aspiration, than hard directions, but having in my lifetime seen Scotland rally round their newborn oil and gas industry, I am very hopeful that the concept of a green freeport will be successful.

Unless anyone can correct me, I do feel that Scotland’s two green freeports are a world first.

Forth Green Freeport

This is the home page of the Forth Green Freeport.

  • It talks about being Central to Scotland’s green ambitions.
  • Places shown on a map of the freeport are Burntisland, Edinburgh Airport, Grangemouth, Leith and Rosyth.
  • The freeport has a long list of partners.

It appears to be a well-backed ambitious plan.

Cromarty Green Freeport

Opportunity Cromarty Firth are leading the development of the Cromarty Green Freeport and they have this web site.

This is the sub-heading on the home page.

Opportunity Cromarty Firth (OCF), is a consortium leading a bid in the current competition for Green Freeport status, which could “revolutionise” the Highland economy and stimulate major new manufacturing activity locally and elsewhere in Scotland and the UK.

It is following by these two paragraphs.

The consortium is backed by port owners Port of Cromarty Firth, Global Energy Group, Port of Inverness and The Highland Council alongside a dozen regional businesses, public sector organisations and academic bodies.

OCF believes the creation of such a zone on the Firth would maximise local and Scotland-wide benefits from a pipeline of renewable energy projects placing the Highlands at the heart of the drive towards net-zero and create tens of thousands of jobs.

There would appear to be a lot of aspiration and a good list of partners, but the plans for the freeport don’t seem to be as advanced as those for the Forth Green Freeport.

No Shortage Of Electricity

One thing, that will not be a problem for either freeport, is going to be a poor electricity supply, as both the Forth Estuary and Cromarty Form will be the home to several gigawatts of offshore wind.

In addition, it is likely that the wind farms in the Cromarty Firth will be backed by large amounts of pumped storage hydroelectricity in the Great Glen.

Wind Farms Close To The Cromarty Firth Green Freeport

These wind farms are currently close to the Cromarty Firth Green Freeport.

  • Beatrice – 10 MW – Operational
  • Beatrice Extension – 588 MW – Operational
  • Moray East – 950 MW – Operational
  • Moray West – 862 MW – Operational in 2025
  • Caldeonia – 2000 MW – Operational in 2030

This is a grand total of 4410 MW. Hinckley Point C will be 3260 MW.

Wind Farms Close To The Forth Green Freeport

These wind farms are currently close to the Forth Green Freeport.

  • Seagreen – 862 MW – Operational in 2023
  • Inch Cape – 1080 MW – Operational in 2026/27
  • Neart Na Gaoithe – 450 MW – Operational in 2024
  • Forthwind – 12 MW – Operational in 2023/24
  • Berwick Bank 4100 MW – Operational in 2030

This is a grand total of 6504 MW.

North of Scotland Hydrogen Programme

One plan that seems to be being developed by OCF is the North of Scotland Hydrogen Programme, which has this web page on the OCF web site.

These paragraphs outline the plan.

The North of Scotland Hydrogen Programme was established through Opportunity Cromarty Firth and brings together key partners who share ambitions for the region’s renewable, low carbon future. The programme aims to develop a state-of-the-art hub in the Cromarty Firth to produce, store and distribute green hydrogen at scale to the region, Scotland, other parts of the UK and Europe.

The Highlands will be at the centre of future large-scale production of green hydrogen if the Cromarty Firth wins Green Freeport status.
ScottishPower and Storegga have expressed their support for the Green Freeport bid by Opportunity Cromarty Firth (OCF), which could attract more than £1 billion investment to the area and create thousands of jobs and local supply chain opportunities during construction.

The joint developers recently announced plans to develop one of the UK’s largest green hydrogen electrolyser plants on the Cromarty Firth. The project’s initial phase would see the facility produce up to 30 megawatts (MW) of green hydrogen to be used in heating processes in nearby whisky distilleries.

Achieving Green Freeport status would have the potential to bring forward significant investment in a larger-scale plant by up to 10 years and would place the Highlands firmly at the centre of future large-scale production of green hydrogen, because of the region’s enormous growth potential of offshore wind, which is critical to the industry’s development.


  1. The hydrogen from the first phase of the electrolyser will be used in the whisky industry.
  2. Gradually, hydrogen use will widen throughout the region.
  3. I suspect that as hydrogen production grows, it will be exported from the freeport.

This map from the web site shows all the energy flows.


  1. Aquaculture is a use for the oxygen produced by the electrolyser.
  2. Everybody is promoting spaceports. Both hydrogen and oxygen can be used as rocket fuel.
  3. Hydrogen or electricity is shown powering all sorts of transport, including buses, a cruise ship, trains and trucks.

It certainly is a comprehensive plan.

Hydrogen At The Forth Green Freeport

Hydrogen is mentioned on the About page of the Forth Green Freeport web site in this general statement.

Investments will stimulate growth in trade, providing expanded logistics and trade capacity for existing and emerging industries including advanced modular systems, biofuels, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage, as well as support additional R&D capability and green incubator space to drive SME and start-up business growth.

But as INEOS are a partner, I would expect some hydrogen production from all that green offshore electricity.

January 15, 2023 - Posted by | Business, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , ,


  1. This is a nonsense brought about by Brexit. Previously goods and raw materials imported to Scotland from outside the EU (EEA) would pass through customs, but then they, anything from within the EU and finished goods could be shipped anywhere in the EU paperwork and tariff free. Now as we all know it is a shambles with masses of bureaucracy adding cost, but no value. A freeport reduces the paperwork somewhat, but is basically tax and bureaucracy avoidance, plus the government subsidises the National Insrance of people who work in them.

    Of course the whole of Northern Ireland can trade freely with the UK and EU, unless and until the “party within a party” ERG tail wags the Conservative Party government dog.

    Comment by R. Mark Clayton | January 15, 2023 | Reply

  2. The ERG and Momentum are sometimes so off the planet that they talk the same rubbish.

    My father, who had something to do with the League of Nations hated both extremes with a vengeance and the Nazis hated him particularly as he was a sixteenth Jewish.

    I do think, that the most interesting thing about these green freeports is that Holyrood and Westminster are working together.

    Comment by AnonW | January 15, 2023 | Reply

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