Following the announcement of the government’s Hydrogen Strategy – which sets out the approach to developing a thriving low carbon hydrogen sector in the UK to meet the ambition for 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 – Mike Foster, CEO of the Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA), comments: “The UK’s Hydrogen Strategy represents a huge step in the right direction for the introduction of the technology, something the heating industry is rallying behind in the decarbonisation process. The Government’s commitment to hydrogen is a promising step, which will help to create thousands of jobs and decarbonise homes for millions of consumers with minimal disruption.
“We are enthused to see the Government also recognise the role a hydrogen blend into the grid will play in reducing carbon emissions without homeowners needing to change appliances or boilers. It is of great importance that the transition to hydrogen does not cause disruption or large costs to consumers. The blend is a way to significantly reduce emissions with no change, which will in turn leave time for the groundwork to be laid for a seamless switch to 100% hydrogen later on.
“We also welcome Business & Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng’s recognition of hydrogen’s potential for decarbonising heat in homes and commercial buildings across the country.
“Giving consumers choice when it comes to low carbon heating is vital to ensuring all buildings can be suitably decarbonised to hit targets set out by government. Research conducted in our recent report Too Close To Home revealed 72% of homeowners supported efforts of UK manufacturers to develop low carbon gas boilers, such as hydrogen boilers. The establishment of a Hydrogen Strategy will be to ensure this consumer sentiment is met, and disruption is limited in the renewable transition.
“The creation of jobs is a welcome aspect of the strategy but will also play a part in the preservation of jobs for the over 120,000 gas engineers working across the UK. Likely requiring only one extra module to be taken on the compulsory Gas Safe engineering qualification, the installation and servicing of hydrogen-ready boilers is set to be very similar to their traditional counterparts. Given heating installers will play an integral role in preparing for the transition should the decision be made in 2026, it is vital that their jobs are protected as part of renewable development.
“We in the heating industry are committed to do all that we can to work with the Government ahead of its decision in 2026 on the role of hydrogen in decarbonising heat. A number of EUA members have been at the forefront of developing hydrogen heating technologies to ease the transition for homeowners and ensure cost to them is no more than with natural gas equivalents. With the establishment of this strategy, UK consumers and businesses have more choice across low-carbon energy mix, an integral part of ensuring no one is left being in the renewable transition.”