The government has been told to introduce a new “Office for Hydrogen” and increase the legal limit on hydrogen blending in a new report.
On 16 June, the Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform (TIGRR) published a report, exploring how the UK can refresh its approach to regulation having left the European Union. It looked at opportunities for economic growth in various sectors, including net zero technologies, where it called for the current UK regulatory framework for governing energy generation and distribution to be reformed to match climate ambitions. It proposed a more innovative approach, focusing on future opportunities instead of maintaining market stability, and targeting outcomes rather than processes.
It also cited expansion and development of hydrogen as an opportunity and called for the creation of a new regulatory framework for it through an Office for Hydrogen within BEIS, encouraging investment and innovation. It added that having a central coordinating unit to drive forward its development would serve as a clear statement of intent to industry of its priority, with it currently managed across a number of departments and government bodies.
It outlined how net zero commitments require a rapid scale-up of hydrogen solutions through the 2020s, meaning the UK must support and build a robust domestic hydrogen market. Setting clear standards and regulatory rules will encourage investment and the delivery of innovative goods and services, while, building on the forthcoming hydrogen strategy, it suggested government focus on a framework supported and underpinned by the training and retraining of additional hydrogen scientists, engineers and technicians.
It further stressed the need to finalise and publish business models for hydrogen as soon as possible, providing assurance to investors and supporting efforts to develop the world’s first net zero industrial cluster in the UK. The report cited previous suggestions of this being through a contracts for difference scheme and more straightforward grant schemes for smaller-scale businesses, while a regulated asset base could be the model to support carbon capture usage and storage systems and pipeline infrastructure.
It also recommended increasing the legal limit on hydrogen blending – currently 0.1% – in the national gas grid, highlighting it as the first change to existing legal restrictions in the UK that could unlock massive growth in hydrogen sectors.