The government has been told to deliver beyond its existing net zero commitments and set ambitious hydrogen targets in forthcoming strategies to reach net zero.
On 6 July, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hydrogen published its report into the role of hydrogen in powering industry, mapping out a set of recommendations to support and accelerate the growth of the UK’s hydrogen sector and enable a sustainable energy transition. It highlighted how large-scale conversion to hydrogen could position the UK as a global leader in hydrogen technology, drastically cut emissions, create and sustain thousands of skilled jobs and unlock innovation in other sectors.
However, the right policy levers and infrastructure are needed to support businesses in delivering on hydrogen ambitions and the 2050 net zero target, with the report calling on government to implement coordinated, ambitious strategies to deliver hydrogen at scale.
It recommended government looks to expand beyond its existing commitment of 5GW of production in the forthcoming Hydrogen Strategy and ensure any forthcoming government and devolved policies are complementary of wider UK low carbon commitments. This would see departments work together, creating streamlined, ambitious strategies to support the overall delivery of both blue and green hydrogen at scale.
It set out how government must commit to incentivising hydrogen production within the UK, instead of importing it, to create and sustain green jobs, maximise supply chain opportunities and support levelling up ambitions; align hydrogen production pathways with nuclear technology to enhance hydrogen production; develop a UK-wide hydrogen network to support the transport sector, including implementation of hydrogen refuelling stations on a larger scale; and prioritise industrial clusters as they will be the key catalyst for driving forward the UK’s decarbonisation of industry with hydrogen.
To further support hydrogen’s role in powering industry, changes in regulation are needed, including on blending hydrogen and amending the Gas Safety Management Regulations to allow hydrogen injection in the domestic grid. It also advocated a technology neutral approach for all types of energy systems if hydrogen is to expand in the UK; significant, long-term financial support for the development, deployment and operation of hydrogen technologies; and that Ofgem ensures the hydrogen market is subject to effective competition, driving down prices for consumers.
Image: National Grid’s project to explore the development of a UK hydrogen ‘backbone’ – one of the case studies explored within the report.