With the UK’s hydrogen sector now on the cusp of large-scale commercialisation, the Hydrogen Taskforce has relaunched as trade association, Hydrogen UK, with new structures and services to support the industry through this next phase of activity.
Launching on 24 November, it published a report, setting out how it plans to support the UK to move from strategy to delivery and deliver on a number of objectives to this end, including making business models available, developing the necessary policy and regulatory frameworks and developing the necessary training and support for a hydrogen workforce. It detailed how while the UK’s hydrogen sector has made progress since the launch of the Hydrogen Taskforce, there is still “much to be done” for hydrogen to play a leading role in the delivery of the net zero target.
For example, the UK’s 2030 target of 5GW of hydrogen production capacity equates to around 33TWh. When considering that by 2050, the UK could need as much as 475TWh of hydrogen, this leaves a gap of 442TWh having to be delivered over the space of 20 years. Furthermore, it noted much of this capacity should be targeted to be in place by 2040, to ensure supporting infrastructure can then be delivered.
This is why scaling up hydrogen production faster throughout the 2020s can be advantageous, Hydrogen UK explained. Increasing the 5GW production target would help to reduce the costs of meeting net zero and the Sixth Carbon Budget, with the report going on to map out a series of alternative scenarios for UK hydrogen deployment in 2030.
Under its low scenario, 7GW of capacity is deployed, resulting in 29,700 jobs, £7.2bn in GVA and 13.7MtCO2e of annual carbon abatement, while its central scenario sees 14GW of capacity in place by 2030, creating 58,500 jobs, £14.2bn in GVA and leading to 16.9MtCO2e of annual carbon abatement. Both of these scenarios are based on sensitivity analysis of end-use sector technologies. Its high scenario, meanwhile, assumes that projects in the UK pipeline deliver 100% of their 2030 targets, which unlocks 22GW of capacity, 96,800 jobs and £23.6bn in GVA, while abating 29.1MtCO2e of carbon annually.
It went on to recommend industry and government join forces on a set of objectives to enable hydrogen in the UK to move successfully from strategy to delivery, including scaling production rapidly by making hydrogen business models available to producers by mid-2022; stimulating demand for hydrogen by developing detailed and distinct policy and regulatory frameworks to create markets in end-use sectors; and to provide links between supply and demand by establishing mechanisms to unlock capital investment in distribution and storage infrastructure.
It also called for the necessary training and support to be developed as a means of ensuring that the UK has the skilled workforce it needs to deliver on its hydrogen ambitions, and to ensure that nobody is left behind by working with a wide range of stakeholders to build a hydrogen society.
A more detailed look at the recommendations can be found in the next issue of H2 News Hub.