More certainty is needed on the UK’s future hydrogen plans if the country is to “grasp the economic opportunity hydrogen represents”, according to industry leaders.
The concern has been raised as the UK falls six places on an international index within two years, with new research by the Energy Network Association’s (ENA) gas members and Hydrogen UK triggering industry calls for more certainty from government, providing recommendations of how to regain the momentum lost.
According to the index, in 2021, proposals for funding arrangements and timelines from government, the UK was second only to South Korea in making progress towards using hydrogen to achieve our net zero goals.
But now progress has slowed, and missed opportunities to pass necessary legislation and political uncertainty around the policies and funding arrangements to support the UK’s hydrogen roll-out means that no major projects have progressed to the ‘Final Investment Decision’ stage – used to determine if projects are to go ahead – in that time.
Though some progress has been made, the USA, Germany, Japan, Canada, the Netherlands and France, have all leap-frogged the UK.
Recently the United States issued a Notice of Intent to invest up to $1 billion in an initiative to support Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs and introduced a subsidy of up to $3 per kg of clean hydrogen depending on production conditions.
To regain the momentum, the ENA and Hydrogen UK have called for faster movement and being more flexible with production support, identifying and supporting strategic infrastructure investment now, clarity on the roles for hydrogen in industry, supporting measures to make high-carbon expensive and low-carbon low cost, and maximise the significant economic opportunity on offer by stimulating domestic supply chains.
Clare Jackson, CEO of Hydrogen UK, said: “Policy delays and lack of clarity from government has slowed the progression of low-carbon hydrogen projects. We are still waiting for the Energy Bill to be passed, which was introduced to Parliament over a year ago. The UK has the capability and innovation to be a global hydrogen leader, and we urge government to prioritise our recommendations to achieve this.”
Silvia Simon, Head of Hydrogen, Energy Networks Association, said: “The UK was streets ahead of the global competition in 2021 in the race to use hydrogen to help build a decarbonised energy system, but UK industry has been forced to watch other countries catch up and risk leaving us behind. The hydrogen industry wants to continue to work closely with government to jointly deliver a long-term vision for a decarbonised UK. By working together we can regain pole position.”
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