The government will aim to scale up the hydrogen economy in a similar way to how it has offshore wind, Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, has told MPs.
On 18 May, Kwarteng spoke in the House of Commons on the progress being made towards the ambitions of the 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution. Following the plan, which signals the government’s commitment to meeting the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, Kwarteng assured that further strategies for different sectors of the economy will be set over the next year. These include a heat and buildings strategy, as well as the government’s hydrogen strategy.
The hydrogen strategy, which can be expected in the summer, will be underpinned by a £240mn net zero hydrogen fund investment, supporting both green hydrogen from electrolysis and blue hydrogen enabled by carbon capture and storage.
Responding to a point raised by Shadow Secretary, Ed Miliband, on how “hundreds of millions” of investment in hydrogen, while welcome, is dwarfed by “billions being invested by others”, Kwarteng compared it to the manner in which the offshore wind sector has been scaled up. Here, private sector investment has been very successful in driving deployment, which is the reason why the UK has a commanding position. Instead of the government writing cheques, it has created incentives for the private sector to invest and will now endeavour to do the same to scale up the hydrogen economy.
Kwarteng also expressed excitement at the opportunities for hydrogen in Northern Ireland, highlighting the work of Wrightbus and its efforts to bring hydrogen into the transportation system, while noting the hydrogen strategy will look at hydrogen’s role in the decarbonisation of buildings.