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Hydrogen revolution promises clean power future


New power from hydrogen

Plans have been unveiled to develop a low carbon hydrogen sector in the UK that will power millions of homes, transport and heavy industry.

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said hydrogen had the potential to provide a third of the UK’s energy in the future and create tens of thousands of jobs.

The UK’s first-ever Hydrogen Strategy drives forward the commitments laid out in the Prime Minister’s ambitious 10 Point Plan for a green industrial revolution.

Hydrogen could replace natural gas in powering around three million UK homes each year, creating more than 9,000 high-quality jobs by 2030, potentially rising to 100,000 jobs by 2050.

Kwasi Kwarteng

Kwasi Kwarteng: ‘start of a revolution’

Over the next decade, hydrogen could play an important role in decarbonising energy-intensive industries such as chemicals, oil refineries, power, and heavy transport like shipping, HGV lorries and train.

Government analysis suggests that 20-35% of the UK’s energy consumption by 2050 could be hydrogen-based.

Mr Kwarteng said: “Today marks the start of the UK’s hydrogen revolution. This home-grown clean energy source has the potential to transform the way we power our lives and will be essential to tackling climate change and reaching Net Zero.

“With the potential to provide a third of the UK’s energy in the future, our strategy positions the UK as first in the global race to ramp up hydrogen technology and seize the thousands of jobs and private investment that come with it.”

Matthew Fell, CBI chief policy director, said: “To truly capitalise on those large-scale economic opportunities, and unlock the private sector finance needed, firms will now be looking for the Government to provide detailed policies and standards for hydrogen production and application.

“With its cross-economy applications in the transition to net-zero, firms will be looking to the Government to make ambitious commitments on hydrogen testing and demonstration projects in the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review.”

Chief executive at SSE Alistair Phillips-Davies said: “The strategy is a welcome first step to realising the potential of hydrogen”

Andy Hemingway, president, energy optimisation and innovation at Wood, said: “Some of the best engineers in the world work in conventional energy and there is a huge opportunity for them now to apply their skills and expertise in support of the global hydrogen economy, which, with this clear commitment from the UK Government, is set to grow rapidly.” 

Alan Whitehead, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Energy and the Green New Deal, welcomed the initiative, but added: “The belated publication of this hydrogen strategy needs to be followed up with urgent action.

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“That is what we will judge the Government on because too many of the Tories’ warm words and targets on climate change have not been followed up with practical steps.

“It is regrettable that the Conservatives have failed to match the investment shown by other countries and key decisions have been delayed, such as mandating that all boilers must be hydrogen-ready.

“The UK has an opportunity to develop a world-class industry, but we will only realise this with a government that acts at the scale required. This publication is a start, but there is much more to do.”

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