Clean, green hydrogen produced using renewable energy could play a key role in decarbonising certain important sectors of the economy, such as heavy industry and steel. The UK Hydrogen Strategy shows some welcome ambition, but must be followed through with clear governance mechanisms if the UK is to be an international leader.
The Strategy backs a ‘twin track’ of pursuing both clean green hydrogen and fossil-fuel based blue hydrogen. Clarity is now needed regarding how the transition towards zero emissions hydrogen will be managed, ensuring the proposed standard for ‘low carbon’ hydrogen is aligned with climate science. Clarity to avoid lock-in of high carbon jobs and infrastructure is essential to keep on track for climate targets and avoid stranded assets and jobs, for a just transition.
The Government has postponed key decisions, including blending hydrogen into the fossil gas grid, and the role of hydrogen for heating, including a nationwide roll-out of hydrogen ready boilers. Decision-making processes should be inclusive and transparent, taking a precautionary approach on areas where there remain many unknowns. Clarity is required in the Heat & Buildings Strategy on where hydrogen will and won’t make sense when heating our homes to avoid sub-optimal results for climate, consumers and communities.
This document looks at the new Strategy, considering how it weighs up against the expectations we set in the recent report, Between hope and hype: a hydrogen vision for the UK.
The table below shows how the UK Hydrogen Strategy stacks up against E3G’s benchmarks for success, using a traffic light system – with red indicating poor alignment, amber indicating a mixture of positive and negative, and green indicating a positive outcome. The table shows that while the Strategy contained some welcome conclusions, there remains room for improvement across the board – and some areas of significant concern.