On 30 November, the House of Lords held a session on ‘Supporting private investment in the hydrogen sector in the UK’ following an oral question by Baroness Meacher.
Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist opened with an outline of the government’s commitment to 5GW of hydrogen production capacity by 2030. The support for achieving this was referenced in the recently announced £240mn Net Zero Hydrogen Fund and to-be-announced hydrogen financial support mechanisms in early 2021. The scale-up of UK hydrogen is projected to create 100,000 domestic and export jobs by 2050.
On skilling up the UK workforce to obtain expertise in hydrogen industries, Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist referenced the wider skilling-up agenda across industry and promised more detail on this as follow-up.
On blue vs green hydrogen investment, Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist reaffirmed the government’s commitment to supporting both forms of hydrogen production in order to effectively transition to Net Zero.
On rolling out heat pumps in case of hydrogen proving unfeasible, reference was made to the extensive work being carried out in respect of proving the safety case for hydrogen. Alongside this, the commitment to developing the Future Homes Standards and meeting a 2028 target of 600,000 heat pump installations per year was referenced. Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist noted that all technologies would be needed to meet the task of Net Zero.
On the level of funding committed by the UK in comparison to other European countries, Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist commented that many other international funding pledges are not underpinned currently by policy. It was made clear that the government’s priority is to develop appropriate supporting policy alongside the level of funding committed currently in the first instance.
On becoming a world leader in hydrogen bus manufacturing, reference was made to the £23mn Hydrogen for Transport programme and £2mn Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) Fleets Support Scheme aiming to increase hydrogen refuelling access and FCEV uptake across the UK.
On the application of hydrogen in Wales, Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist commented on the establishment of the Welsh Hydrogen Reference Group in supporting Wales’ hydrogen development along with the potential for Welsh industry to access the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund in order to access capital support and increase low-carbon hydrogen uptake across the region.