With over two-thirds of local authorities in the UK declaring climate emergencies, the North West Hydrogen Alliance (NWHA) argues that hydrogen is a vital part of the solution.
This comes as Halton Borough Council becomes the latest organisation to join the growing membership of the Alliance. The local authority is the first to join the NWHA having taken a leading role on hydrogen in the Liverpool City Region.
The Liverpool City Region declared a Climate Emergency earlier this year with hydrogen forming a critical part of the city region’s planned response. Targets include replacing all natural gas with hydrogen from the city region’s gas grid by 2035; delivering a network of at least eight zero-carbon refuelling stations (hydrogen and electric charging) across the city region by 2025; and meeting the city region’s hydrogen demand from transport, industry and heat from clean hydrogen produced within the city region from 2023. Other local authorities in the North West that have declared climate emergencies, include Manchester City Region and Cheshire West & Chester Council.
Halton is home to INOVYN’s Runcorn site which has been producing hydrogen for over a hundred years. The Council is working with INOVYN, and other industrial partners, to identify markets for the hydrogen, which could include for heat, decarbonisation of industry and transport fuels.
Professor Joseph Howe, Chair of the NWHA and Executive Director of the Thornton Energy Institute, said: “Local authorities across the UK are facing a significant challenge in these austere times to deliver decarbonisation and meet their climate change objectives. Hydrogen could make a significant contribution as we continue on the journey to net zero. We’re already seeing the public sector embrace the technology with projects such as hydrogen buses in the Liverpool City Region. The local authorities that get behind hydrogen can become centres of innovation, creating jobs and skills that can be exported to the rest of the UK and beyond.
“It’s great news that Halton Borough Council are the first local authority to join our growing membership. One of the unique things we have in the North West is a facility that’s been producing hydrogen for over a hundred years which sits within Halton. There has been work ongoing for years between the private and public sector to identify how we can make the best use of this huge asset and deliver low carbon hydrogen to heat our homes and businesses and power our transport network.”
Halton Borough Council’s Chief Executive, David Parr, said: “We are delighted to be the first local authority in the North West to join the North West Hydrogen Alliance and, in so doing, help to shape the development of a truly sustainable, net zero, energy system for the region.
“We appreciate that only through partnership can we make the transition to a low carbon future and make a positive and lasting contribution, at a local level, to some of the most serious global challenges currently facing the planet. This approach is a clear statement of the Council’s commitment to meeting its stated aim of tackling the climate emergency we are all facing.”
Across the North West the public and private sectors are working together to deliver the UK’s first low carbon industrial cluster by 2030. The Liverpool and Manchester Mayors and Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) are working directly alongside industry to develop a roadmap for the North West Energy and Hydrogen Cluster. Lead by the North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT), the Cluster could deliver 33,000 jobs, over £4bn investment and save 10 million tonnes of CO2 per year.