Hydrogen East has joined forces with other hydrogen industry bodies to submit a joint statement to Westminster. It calls upon the government to “act now and act decisively on the opportunity to develop a hydrogen economy” by issuing a public statement of support for hydrogen as a central component in the transition to Net Zero.
The UK Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Associations Coordination Forum members represent a broad range of stakeholders in the UK hydrogen sector and all believe that hydrogen, and fuel cells, can play a key role in helping the UK to achieve Net Zero emissions and build back better. While a Hydrogen Strategy is expected in 2021, the group feels that the delay could hold back investment in UK hydrogen just at a time when significant momentum is building in the industry.
With the knowledge that the UK government wants to be a global leader, the joint statement offers six key actions to realise the benefits and economic opportunities presented by hydrogen:
- A public and unqualified statement of support for hydrogen as a central component in the transition to Net Zero, supported by an endorsement of a target percentage for hydrogen in the UKs final energy mix
- A support programme for the manufacture and deployment of UK fuel cell technologies that matches world-class technology with investors of scale, to create globally competitive businesses
- A commitment from government departments to ensure that any mechanisms to support the supply of hydrogen are proportionally balanced by measures to support the demand for hydrogen
- A move away from encouraging competition between regions for funding support, and towards providing funding for well-managed initiatives that encourage joined up and collaborative mechanisms
- Clarity on the role of the UK’s regulatory framework in the context of hydrogen, and on which agencies will be responsible for the various components of the industry as it develops
- Transparency on the objectives of the Hydrogen Advisory Council and a commitment to ensure the wider perspectives of the UK’s hydrogen supply chain and regional stakeholders are reflected in key policy decisions.
The joint statement was framed in the context of the radical energy transition required to achieve Net Zero, with the need to either electrify or switch over 28 million households to zero emission fuels, decarbonise 29 million passengers vehicles, 500,000 heavy goods vehicles and provide over 90TWh of industrial carbon-neutral heat demand. Given that electrification of everything is neither possible, nor desirable, the economy will also require green gases that can provide seasonal energy storage, smooth the integration of variable renewable power assets into the grid, decarbonise hard to-abate sectors and provide heavy transport applications.
Members flagged that France, Germany and China have already announced billion-dollar support programmes for hydrogen, showing that its potential as an agent in both decarbonisation and economic growth is now globally recognised. With the right support to stimulate investor confidence, the UK has the skills and technology to become a leading exporter of hydrogen technology. The hydrogen industry stands ready to support the government in delivering on these ambitions and developing the opportunity for the UK, but the government needs to act now.