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Aberdeen’s green recovery can’t be dominated by BP

BP’s approval to deliver the new hydrogen hub is a kick in the face to environmentalists

By Aidan Bridgeman

Photo courtesy of NHD-INFO via Flickr


Aberdeen City Council has approved BP to deliver the city’s new hydrogen hub with a solar power facility and hydrogen production and refuelling facility in a move sure to anger environmentalists across the city and the country. As the preferred bidder, they will now work with the council in a joint venture to ‘lead the way’ in making Aberdeen a hydrogen city, envied by the entire world. This comes as part of BP’s plan of world domination, uh, I mean, reaching ‘net zero’ across the planet. Aiming to set up similar projects in 10 to 15 cities around the world.


It has published a draft plan to develop the new project in three steps. Firstly, it plans to build the infrastructure for the public sector, then secondly moving to rail, trucks and marine use. Step three sees the use of hydrogen for heat and export abroad.


Now I’ll admit, hydrogen in Aberdeen is pretty cool. As lame as that just sounded. But zero emission buses in the city centre are one of the best things about living here, and I tell people this all the time. That being said, the buses are also owned by the private company, FirstGroup. As with much of the transport elsewhere in Scotland (with the recent exception of rail, but we’ll see how that’s handled seeing as the SNP government almost seem reluctant in accepting ownership of it). Moreover, the city has one of the largest fleets of bin lorries, road sweepers, cars and vans in Europe


Conservative and Unionist Party Councillor Ryan Houghton put it like this: ‘I am incredibly proud of this next step Aberdeen is making with our commercial partner bp, which has advised the council on the delivery of our Energy Transition Strategic Infrastructure Plan and this exciting announcement builds on that work.’, further stating that it’ll help create hundreds of opportunities for employment and innovation in the city! Sure, sure.


It adds to the monopoly that private companies are gaining, in fact dominating, over Scotland’s energy transition. Only a few days ago did BP, alongside Shell and SSE, win offshore wind energy contracts in the ‘ScotWind’ auction. Many of those leasing contracts have gone abroad, in fact. In fact, foreign countries are to have a bigger stake in the Scottish renewable market than Scotland itself.


If Scotland’s green energy transition is undertaken by some of the worst polluters in the world who operate only to cut costs and increase profits, Scotland will be sucked dry of any benefits and the taxpayer will be charged even more. Instead, if energy were to be taken into public hands, Scotland and its citizens could have lived comfortably in a net zero country, enjoying a decarbonised energy sector, with secure jobs, better wages, and cheaper prices upfront and to the taxpayer.


A move like this goes against everything that SNP, as well as the Conservative council in Aberdeen, say about climate change. It’s true that a move to renewables and green energy doesn’t have to be to the detriment of standards of living in any one country, but contracts like these will only perpetuate these myths and further complicate any positive developments. Of course, these net zero targets and developments around green energy are welcome, but when the future of the climate lies in private hands with governments happily handing them deals, turning a blind eye and with very little input, it’s hard to be that optimistic. It doesn’t look good for the general public or environment, but it sure looks great for the pockets of oil and gas billionaires.