The government has been urged to commit to specific deployment targets for key renewable technologies, including renewable hydrogen, ahead of COP26.
On 7 May, RenewableUK published a report, calling for clear milestones for onshore wind, floating wind, marine energy and renewable hydrogen to be set for 2030, with these acting as a springboard to achieve the targets of a 78% reduction in emissions by 2035 and net zero by 2050. Its specific recommendations for 2030 include a commitment to 30GW of onshore wind, 2GW of floating offshore wind, 1GW of marine energy and a Just Transition Strategy, ensuring nowhere or nobody is left behind in the net zero transition.
It also called for a 5GW minimum target for green hydrogen by 2030 to signal the UK’s commitment to the “only truly zero emissions form of hydrogen production”. Such a move would also succeed in facilitating a strong domestic demand and support the development of the UK’s industrial base within this sector.
The UK has already got a head start in the global race for renewable hydrogen with the report detailing how it is home to world-leading electrolyser manufacturers, including ITM Power, and has played host to world-leading trials, such as the Gigastack project in the Humber. Furthermore, the UK’s renewables industry is providing large volumes of clean, affordable power, while its research institutions along with the expertise, knowledge and skills of its engineers offer a strong blueprint for cost reductions and innovation.
Despite the government already committing to 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production by 2030 in its 10-point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the pace of the sector’s development calls for an upgrade in ambition. The report suggested the government reviews this target within the forthcoming hydrogen strategy to reflect the ambitions of the devolved administrations and industry. Having such strong ambition for renewable hydrogen development will be essential in signalling confidence in the sector to the international community, ensuring the UK is able to capitalise on its established strengths and secure the industrial benefits of the sector as it develops.