The hydrogen revolution has officially begun. The UK Hydrogen Strategy landed in August 2021 and saw the UK Government taking a bold step toward hydrogen power, unveiling how it aims to develop the hydrogen economy. Here’s the top 5 things you need to know.
1. It’s set to create thousands of jobs
After months of delay, the Government has published its long-awaited Hydrogen Strategy outlining its vision for the hydrogen economy and marks a key milestone in the delivery of the UK’s 10 Point Plan. The strategy identifies that a UK wide hydrogen economy could be worth £900 million and create over 9,000 high-quality jobs by 2030, potentially rising to 100,000 jobs and worth £13 billion by 2050. “Today’s Hydrogen Strategy sends a strong signal globally that we are committed to building a thriving low carbon hydrogen economy that could deliver hundreds of thousands of high-quality green jobs”. Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
2. It’s a credible alternative to electrification
The Government has committed to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035 and reach net zero emissions by 2050, which involves deep decarbonisation across the entire UK economy. The Climate Change Committee – an independent statutory body, which advises the Government on emissions targets – has advised that hydrogen is a credible option to help decarbonise the UK energy system, particularly where electrification is not feasible or is prohibitively expensive, such as industrial heat processes, chemicals, heavy transport, and machinery.
3. Both blue and green hydrogen will be supported
The Government intends to produce large quantities of both electrolytic ‘green’ and CCUS-enabled ‘blue’ hydrogen. The production of blue hydrogen will be located in industrial clusters, many of which are in coastal locations with links to C02 storage sites. The Government will set out further details around scaling up “low-carbon” hydrogen in the forthcoming Net Zero Strategy.
4. The future of the gas systems is under review
The Government will be reviewing the market framework set out in the Gas Act 1986. This will also look at the current gas types and the implications for increased use of hydrogen in the system. The Government is also reviewing gas quality standards with a view to enabling the existing gas network to have access to a wider range of gases, including hydrogen.
5. Hydrogen could replace gas boilers in the future
This is with a view to mandate from 2026, subject to review of the gas system. Government will also deliver hydrogen for heat trials, with a view to inform 2026 strategic decision point on the future of hydrogen for heat. The strategy also asserts that it could potentially provide heating for up to 70,000 homes by 2030.