Blog: a new (hydrogen) taskforce to be reckoned with

Future of energy

Our Director of Strategy, Dr Angela Needle, on why a new coalition that Cadent is part of will help the UK achieve the maximum benefits from hydrogen

This is set to be a pivotal year in the UK net zero journey. We are expecting to soon see an Energy White Paper and, in November, the UK will host COP26 in Glasgow – giving us confirmation on the direction UK Government intends to take on tackling emissions
 
BEIS (the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) recently awarded five hydrogen projects a share of £80m in development funds, which suggests it is listening – and agrees that we can’t reach net zero without hydrogen as a key energy vector.
 
On Monday, a new milestone in the hydrogen journey was reached with the launch of the Hydrogen Taskforce: a coalition of some of the UK’s leading organisations; Arup, Baxi, BOC Linde, BNP Paribas and Arval, BP, Cadent, DBD, ITM Power, Shell and Storengy.
 
As the UK’s biggest gas network, managing 80,000 miles of gas pipes, we know the UK needs hydrogen and other greener gases like biomethane. You aren’t going to reach net zero without it. That’s why we’re collaborating on lots of research and development in the UK hydrogen space, as well as leading projects like HyDeploy – the first injection of hydrogen into the modern gas grid in this country.
 
So, you won’t be surprised to learn then that we’re pleased to be part of this new taskforce. Its aim is simple: to ensure the inclusion of hydrogen in the UK’s future energy mix. Its report ‘The role of hydrogen in delivering net zero’ was also launched at the event, and has five clear policy objectives:
 
  1. Development of a cross-departmental Hydrogen Strategy within UK Government
  2. Commitment by Government of £1bn over the next Spending Review Period to hydrogen production, storage and distribution projects
  3. Development of financial support for the production of hydrogen for blending into the gas grid, industrial use, power generation and transport
  4. Amendment of Gas Safety Management Regulations (GSMR) to enable hydrogen blending into the UK Gas Grid and take the next steps towards 100% hydrogen heating through supporting public trials and mandating hydrogen-ready boilers by 2025
  5. Collaboration to establish 100 hydrogen refuelling stations (HRS) by 2025 to support the roll-out of hydrogen transport

These five key areas provide a clear roadmap for both industry partners and government on how to develop the hydrogen industry to help deliver net zero.
 
Feasibility studies and projects are already underway across the UK, including Liverpool City Region rolling out a new hydrogen bus fleet this year, and hydrogen blending occurring in the gas network at Keele University (HyDeploy). It’s important that the taskforce capitalises on these positive developments by taking a longer-term view of what is required.
 
And one of the factors required as soon as possible is policy direction from Government, which we will hopefully see soon with the Energy White Paper, coming from BEIS. We need this to clearly set out Government thinking with regards to hydrogen, to give confidence to industry, to enable investment and to allow projects to continue to develop.
 
The Hydrogen Taskforce will be looking to work with Government to maximise the benefits of hydrogen development. It crosses many departments – including BEIS, Department of Transport, Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and HM Treasury. The cross-sector benefits of hydrogen shouldn’t be lost. International players such as Australia, Japan and South Korea have recognised the benefits of this cross-department working, developing national hydrogen strategies with strong collaboration alongside industry partners.
 
The UK can’t be left behind. We should be leading this emerging industry with a view to exporting the skills and experience we develop. That’s what we want to achieve, as a coalition, a taskforce. Placing the UK front and centre of the hydrogen revolution.

This article also appears in H2 View

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