Members of the UK’s Hydrogen Taskforce have welcomed the long-awaited publication of the government’s Hydrogen Strategy.
The strategy sets out the UK’s trajectory in trying to curb emissions by incentivizing blue and green hydrogen projects.
The Taskforce is a coalition of around 20 companies that are playing an active role in developing a hydrogen energy economy in Britain.
Clare Jackson, co-lead on the Hydrogen Taskforce Secretariat and Head of Low Carbon Innovation at Gemserv, said the strategy “fires the starting gun on the scaling of hydrogen solutions in the UK”.
She said the strategy was “great news for the industry” but added that “it is just the first step in a very long journey to establishing hydrogen as a key part of our future energy systems and enable the UK to cost-effectively deliver net-zero”.
However, she stressed the unveiling of the strategy was “a landmark moment for the sector. By setting clear direction for the development of the hydrogen sector, it offers a framework that will enable businesses to invest in hydrogen projects.
“This is a vital first step towards unlocking hydrogen’s huge potential for the UK but there is still much to be done to scale up hydrogen solutions.
“As our research has shown, hydrogen has a crucial role to play in decarbonising industry, generating power, transport and heating homes, while boosting job creation, sustaining local industries and supporting UK innovation in energy.
“We look forward to seeing further crucial steps towards this low carbon future, such as implementation of the government’s proposed business models for hydrogen.”
Next month, the Taskforce will launch its Building a Hydrogen Society campaign to highlight the importance of hydrogen in the future energy mix.
The campaign will provide local authorities and policymakers with up-to-date information about how low-carbon hydrogen can support the UK’s net-zero targets and deliver prosperity across the whole country.
Jackson added: “If the strategy is going to be delivered, we’ll need government, local councils and consumers to support the use of the many applications that hydrogen offers. But public awareness and understanding of hydrogen, its benefits and applications is still limited.”
“The Taskforce is committed to providing people with the information and tools that they need to participate in a hydrogen society. This campaign is the next step in our mission to ensure that the UK benefits from the opportunities presented by hydrogen.”
Members of the Taskforce include Cadent, ITM Power and Uniper.
Dr Tony Ballance, Chief Strategy & Regulation Officer at Cadent, said he particularly welcome the Hydrogen Strategy’s plans to introduce the blending of hydrogen into the wider gas network.
“It’s a logical, low-risk key stepping stone that requires no new technology or behaviour changes from households. It will stimulate millions of pounds of investment into hydrogen production and save carbon emissions equivalent to removing 2.5m cars from our roads.
“We believe this should be aligned with a mandate to introduce ‘hydrogen-ready’ boilers from 2025. This means as existing boilers naturally become defunct, households will replace them with green boilers, meaning homes will be ready to switch to 100 per cent hydrogen when it’s introduced into the network in the future.
“As a result, this will mean no major disruption or upfront costs for millions of people across the UK.”
Balance added that “while this Hydrogen Strategy is an excellent start, we believe there are opportunities for the UK to go further and at a faster pace to ensure we’re at the forefront of the hydrogen revolution. We need hydrogen at scale to enable us to achieve Net Zero.”
ITM Power chief executive Dr Graham Cooley said the energy sector “needs a policy landscape in place that identifies priorities and support mechanisms for rolling out green hydrogen production in the UK, and that’s just what today’s Hydrogen Strategy sets out”.
“Green, zero-carbon hydrogen can abate greenhouse gas emissions from industry, transport and heat. It can be used to store our abundant renewable energy from offshore wind and longer term, be used to create export markets. This is a win for the UK’s decarbonisation plans, a win for cleaner air and a win for British jobs.”
Uniper’s UK chairman Mike Lockett said the strategy “provides the next step in developing the framework that will need to be in place for investors like Uniper to take forward hydrogen projects in the UK”.
“We know hydrogen will be crucial in helping the UK achieve Net Zero by 2050, especially in tackling hard to decarbonize sectors such as industry, heat and transport.
“To ensure we can deliver hydrogen at scale it is important to recognize the role that both blue and green hydrogen will play. Investing in both blue and green hydrogen is essential to drive forward innovative solutions that will reduce emissions across key sectors, whilst supporting global competitiveness, and the UK’s post-Covid economic recovery.”
Don’t miss our forthcoming webcast: Green is the new Black: Hydrogen, challenges and opportunities