A FIVE-YEAR plan has been launched to see Scotland become a world leader in hydrogen energy.

The Scottish Government wants to see almost a sixth of Scotland’s energy produced by hydrogen by 2030.

The Government has now unveiled a £100 million fund to back up the plans which will focus on supporting regional renewable hydrogen production hubs and renewable hydrogen projects across Scotland.

The first part of the funding will be a £10m hydrogen innovation fund, set to be launched next year to drive technological progress and further innovation and reduce costs in the sector.

READ MORE: Scotland set to be green leader with plan to use offshore wind to make hydrogen

Net Zero and Energy Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Hydrogen has an important role to play in our journey to a net zero economy, by supporting the bold, urgent action required to deliver cleaner, greener energy and also by supporting a just transition – creating good, green jobs for our highly skilled workforce.

“Scotland has the resources, the people and the ambition to become a world leader in hydrogen production and our hydrogen action plan sets out how we will work collaboratively with the energy sector to drive progress over the next five years.”

Matheson said both renewable and low-carbon hydrogen will play an “increasingly important role” in Scotland’s energy transition.

He added that the Government’s priorities will be to get as much renewable hydrogen into the energy system as quickly as possible.

He continued: “The Scottish Government is fully committed to helping the hydrogen sector develop and grow.

The National:

"We are investing £100 million in renewable hydrogen projects over this parliament and, in addition to this, I am pleased to announce the expansion of our energy transition fund to support the development of a Hydrogen Hub in Aberdeen and help the region be at the forefront of the energy sector’s net zero transformation.”

The Scottish Government has also announced an expanded energy transition fund of up to £75m which will deliver £15m worth of investment in an Aberdeen hydrogen Hub to support a hydrogen transport fleet.

Campaigners slammed the move though, calling it a way to get “fossil fuels in the back door”.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s climate campaigner Alex Lee said: “This is a plan to sneak fossil fuels in the back door through the use of blue hydrogen.

READ MORE: Use of offshore wind in green hydrogen production to be studied in Orkney

"The First Minister spoke last week about moving away from oil and gas as quickly as possible, yet this hydrogen action plan sets out how they will support continued gas extraction and production for hydrogen.

“The Scottish Government is marketing blue hydrogen, made from gas, as ‘low-carbon hydrogen’ but studies have shown that this blue hydrogen actually releases more carbon emissions than just burning gas.

“The plan fails to spell out exactly how much fossil or renewable hydrogen the Scottish Government aims to support.

"Oil and gas companies are being financially backed by the Scottish Government to use carbon capture and storage and hydrogen to allow them to keep drilling and exploiting fossil fuels. What we need to see instead is an urgent transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy in a way that's fair to workers.

“The plan also states that hydrogen could be used to heat homes and to power transport. However these uses are an inefficient, misdirected and expensive use of renewable electricity, which should be used to directly power electric vehicles and keep homes warm rather than converting electricity to hydrogen power.”