Government urged to speed up green hydrogen deployment
According to a report by the trade organisation RenewableUK, government policies could kickstart a “major new green energy industry.“
The document, Surveying the UK’s Green Hydrogen Supply Chain Capability, warns that the UK is at a “critical juncture” in the global race to create thousands of jobs and attract billions of dollars in private investment in the coming decades.
Green hydrogen is created by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using zero-carbon power in an electrolyzer.
According to RenewableUK, the UK is home to world-renowned electrolyser companies such as ITM Power and Ceres, whose cutting-edge technology has been licenced globally.
The country’s electrolyser project pipeline currently stands at 1.5GW, with significant new capacity expected to enter the pipeline soon, though only 4MW are fully operational. The government has set a goal of producing 10GW of low-carbon hydrogen by 2030, at least half of which will be green hydrogen.
To achieve this goal, the report suggests constructing multiple large projects as soon as possible to demonstrate the existence of a viable market for investors and suppliers. Government assistance programmes, such as the Hydrogen Business Model and the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, could play critical roles in this, according to the report, and should be expedited.
If the UK does not step up, it risks being left behind due to ambitious tax incentives and subsidies offered abroad, such as the United States Inflation Reduction Act, which may attract investment and prospective suppliers away from this country,” a RenewableUK announcement said.
“The report recommends that ministers should consider consulting with the industry and setting up a joint working group to establish how tax incentives and other financial institutions, such as the UK Infrastructure Bank, could be used to make the UK a more competitive market for investment in the green hydrogen supply chain.”
The report also suggests the formation of a new government-industry task force to develop a “roadmap” outlining how the UK can achieve at least 5GW of green hydrogen by 2030. New pipelines will be required to transport green hydrogen both locally and to European markets, as well as underground storage in decommissioned gas fields.
According to the announcement, the majority of green hydrogen will be produced using electricity generated by offshore wind, so a detailed study of how those technologies can coexist could help create more flexibility in the electricity system and strengthen Britain’s energy security.
“The UK has the potential to become a global leader in green hydrogen,” said RenewableUK senior policy analyst Laurie Heyworth.
“We’re at a pivotal moment at which we can take decisive strategic action, enabling us to seize the opportunity to deliver growth and jobs by developing robust local supply chains in the burgeoning green hydrogen industry, creating opportunities to export our technology worldwide.
“But the development of green hydrogen has been hampered by a lack of clear policy direction and investment in comparison to blue hydrogen made from fossil fuels. Delays in bringing in vital financial support mechanisms have slowed down our ability to build projects on a scale big enough to act as proof points for investors and suppliers to enable us to grow our domestic supply chain.
“This report sets out how these issues can be addressed, with industry and government working together to maximise the economic and environmental benefits which this innovative technology offers.”
Content Credit: Engineering News