BLOG: The UK needs to act quickly to capitalise on the hydrogen economy

Jonathan Collins, External Affairs Manager North West at Cadent comments on the EU’s hydrogen strategy launched today and why the UK needs to act quickly to capitalise on the hydrogen economy.

The launch of the EU’s hydrogen strategy demonstrates the importance hydrogen will play in the future energy landscapes on the continent. This follows similar hydrogen strategies from Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands, and sits alongside already established strategies from Australia, Japan and China. This proves that hydrogen is gaining the policy frameworks needed to transition from scientific theory to project-ready fact.

But whilst the international attention hydrogen is receiving is positive news for the global journey to Net Zero, it also demonstrates that immediate action is required from UK government if we are not to be left behind in this newly developing hydrogen economy.

The evidence is clear

The evidence supporting the need for hydrogen is clear and established, and although it was disappointing not to see any hydrogen-related announcements from the chancellor in his recent statement, there is still time for government to drive forward the hydrogen industry and become a leading global player. However, this action must be swift and supported with the right frameworks.

The EU strategy sets out its ambitions to 2050, with the installation of 6 gigawats of renewable hydrogen electrolysers and the production of up to one million tonnes of renewable hydrogen by 2024, increasing to at least 40 gigawats of renewable hydrogen electrolysers and the production of up to 10million tonnes of renewable hydrogen in the EU by 2030. These clear targets provide clarity to industry and will help inform business plans going forward.

The UK needs more ambitious targets. We need a cross-departmental hydrogen strategy and the development of a financial support scheme to ramp up the production of hydrogen for blending, transport and power, so we can start to make inroads on the Net Zero challenge whilst developing new industries and jobs at the same time. This should all be supported with a newly appointed minister to ensure pace and delivery.

The present and future is hydrogen

The UK is entering a new phase post-lockdown, and many people are looking for a green recovery to help boost jobs and ensure the economic recovery is delivering for both the present and our 2050 targets. The EU and other countries have shown the requirement for hydrogen in their future, it’s now up to government to ensure the UK isn’t left behind.