In June 2019 the UK Government committed to a Net Zero emissions target, which is
accelerating the decarbonisation of the UK economy. Achieving Net Zero will require
fundamental changes across all sectors of the economy, with hydrogen increasingly fulfilling
energy demand across UK power, heat and transport.
In its recommendations on how to achieve Net Zero, the Committee on Climate Change has
recognised the significant role hydrogen should play in meeting this target. In their “Hydrogen
in a low carbon economy” report, they found that “hydrogen could replace natural gas in
parts of the energy system, where electrification is not feasible or is prohibitively expensive, for
example in providing heat on colder winter days, industrial heat processes and back-up power
In their 2020 Net Zero report, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) conclude that a
highly renewable power system, combined with flexible technologies including hydrogen
powered generation, could be substantially cheaper than alternatives.
With stated ambitions for power and transport, the question remains as to how the UK will meet the challenge of decarbonising the heat sector. Hydrogen stands ready as a deployable technology to integrate power and transport decarbonisation with a readily deployable solution for heat.
According to a recent study by the Leeds Sustainability Institute, hydrogen receives indicative support from energy customers, who were generally willing to accept a moderate increase (presented as 7%) in their gas bills to support this conversion.
Taken together, these reports demonstrate that the hydrogen debate has now moved on from establishing whether there’s a need for hydrogen in a Net Zero economy, with the discussion now focused on how to unlock its potential.