(Bloomberg) -- SSE Plc and Equinor ASA teamed up to buy three UK electricity plants from Triton Power Co., and plan to use the sites to develop low-carbon projects.
The £341 million ($419 million) deal for the stations in northern England, southwest England and Wales reflects the increasing drive among European energy companies to clean up their operations amid an accelerating shift to green power.
Triton’s portfolio includes the 1.2-gigawatt Saltend gas-fired complex in east Yorkshire, which could be a customer for Equinor’s hydrogen project in the area, the companies said Tuesday in a statement.
“Flexible energy will be absolutely essential as renewable energy scales up over the coming years, providing vital back-up,” said Catherine Raw, managing director of SSE Thermal. “We will explore every avenue to decarbonize Saltend and create new opportunities at other assets so they can play a continued role in a net-zero future.”
SSE and Equinor, which are entering the Triton Power deal as equal partners, are among companies pushing into hydrogen as demand for clean energy booms and governments plow funds into development. Clean hydrogen, produced from renewables or using carbon-capture technology, is seen as a way to cut emissions from the gas industry, as well as from energy-intensive sectors such as steel and cement.
The UK government is targeting 10 gigawatts of hydrogen projects by 2030, with at least half being green hydrogen -- produced using water and renewable power.
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Equinor, whose H2H Saltend hydrogen project is expected to be key to the decarbonization of the Humber industrial area, has already joined forces with SSE on other ventures. They plan to convert two other power plants to run on hydrogen, and are studying converting one of Britain’s biggest natural gas storage sites to hold the fuel.
The Triton portfolio also includes the 140-megawatt Indian Queens power station in Cornwall and the Deeside power station, a decommissioned gas plant in north Wales, which provides a so-called inertia service to keep the grid at 50 hertz.
Initial steps to decarbonize the Saltend station are already under way, targeting lower emissions by 2027 by blending as much as 30% hydrogen with the gas supply. SSE’s thermal division and Equinor will work toward zero emissions there by 2035.
The Triton transaction is expected to complete in September.
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