Cadent Chief Strategy and Regulation Officer, Dr Tony Ballance, said he welcomed the release of the Government’s Hydrogen Strategy, as a great first step in promoting the use of this green gas but there are opportunities for the UK to go further and faster.
“It’s great to finally see the Government's long-awaited Hydrogen Strategy being published. It will help to accelerate progress towards Net Zero, create new, green jobs across the UK and strengthen our energy security.
“We’re particularly supportive of the plans to introduce the blending of hydrogen into the wider gas network. It’s a logical, low risk key steppingstone that requires no new technology or behaviour changes from households; will stimulate millions of pounds of investment into hydrogen production; and will save carbon emissions equivalent to removing 2.5m cars from our roads.
“We believe this should be aligned with a mandate to introduce ‘hydrogen-ready’ boilers from 2025. This means as existing boilers naturally become defunct, households will replace them with green boilers, meaning homes will be ready to switch to 100% hydrogen when it’s introduced into the network in the future. As a result, this will mean no major disruption or upfront costs for millions of people across the UK.
“So, while this Hydrogen Strategy is an excellent start, we believe there are opportunities for the UK to go further and at a faster pace to ensure we’re at the forefront of the hydrogen revolution. We need hydrogen at scale to enable us to achieve Net Zero. We know that in the north west alone, 3GW of hydrogen could be produced by the HyNet project Cadent is part of, with up to £2bn of private investment being deployed and creating wider economic growth.
“We will continue to work closely with the Government to turn hydrogen targets into carbon reductions and new jobs and hope to see the minister’s hydrogen ambitions continue to grow.”
Talking specifically for the gas consumer, Tony continues, “We believe that a good place to start, as highlighted by the strategy, would be to introduce 20 per cent hydrogen blending across the wider network so that consumers start to use the fuel alongside their existing supply, with no impact on their daily lives. This step alone will save carbon emissions equivalent to removing 2.5m cars from our roads, and will mean that homes will be ready to switch to 100 per cent hydrogen as and when it becomes available in their network.
“We think a mandate to introduce zero emission hydrogen-ready boilers when their current fossil fuel counterparts come to the end of their natural life would be a hugely positive step forwards, and would cause minimal impact on consumers and their habits.
“Once installed, people could then simply switch to heating their homes using hydrogen if that becomes a viable solution for their neighbourhood, and if it is their preferred choice.
“Based on thousands of discussions with households across our network, we believe hydrogen will be a preferred choice for many as it means:
- Low or no additional upfront cost - a hydrogen boiler will cost the same as existing fossil fuel ones
- No change in behaviour to home heating
- No need for expensive modifications in the home.
“From a UK-wide perspective, hydrogen for heat is also a great economic opportunity. We manufacture 1.3m boilers in the UK, supporting 6,000 jobs. In addition, having hydrogen in the gas pipes will increase use of zero emission hydrogen buses, trucks, trains, ships and planes - all of which can be made in the UK, supporting more jobs and economic growth.”