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What is the UK Hydrogen Strategy?

What is the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy, and how will it help the U.K. transition to a clean energy future?
Ecology News
2023-08-03T00:00:00.000Z
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Countries around the world are seeking ways to reduce their national carbon footprint, with many such as the U.S. implementing revolutionary bills and newfound strict measures to reduce carbon emissions as an attempt to combat the worsening state of climate change. 

The United Kingdom has also made great bounds to improve their sustainability and reduce emissions, such as implementing the Ten Point Plan and the U.K. Environment Act of 2021. In addition to these environmental and green strategies, the U.K. has recently established CMA guidelines to ensure the country meets all of their emissions targets and environmental goals – and a new strategy called the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy.

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How will the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy help the United Kingdom transition from a fossil fuel dependent country, into a society that utilizes clean energy?

Why was the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy Created?

The U.K. Hydrogen Strategy is a plan published by the U.K. government as an attempt to implement several low carbon technologies into the United Kingdom’s industrialization practices, as well as in homes across the country in order to reduce emissions and the need for typical electricity generation. The United Kingdom is determined to broaden their horizons in terms of hydrogen energy and production, such as implementing both green and blue hydrogen technologies and making use of carbon electricity. 

The U.K. Hydrogen Strategy was ultimately created as the country has announced a series of ambitions to propel the country towards a green economy and to significantly reduce emissions to achieve their goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. 

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What are the potential benefits of the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy and how will it work?

The overarching benefit of the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy is that it will help the United Kingdom reduce their carbon emissions by a lot. 

In fact, Britain’s gas grid is set to be ready as soon as next year in 2023, and will help provide homes and businesses across Great Britain with a reliable energy supply while also reducing emissions drastically. 

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The U.K Hydrogen Strategy will work by blending the current gas usage across the country with new hydrogen power, which will ultimately help the country transition to the use of renewable energy over time. The U.K. Hydrogen Strategy will function according to three pillars: the development of which emission standards the country plans to meet through the use of low carbon hydrogen, a £240 million fund that will aid in the development of future hydrogen endeavors through the U.K., and an altered business model as an attempt to pique the interest of future investors.

The use of hydrogen power presents a multitude of benefits. For instance, the use of hydrogen power can serve as a more reliable source of power for citizens, as it can be produced from renewable energy resources such as wind power, solar energy, nuclear energy, or biomass – all of which are infinite resources. Therefore, it can help decrease the dependency on fossil fuels and allow for new methods for transportation, helping to decrease the amount of ozone depleting substances entering the atmosphere that are polluting the planet. 

Hydrogen power isn’t just better for the environment, but for overall human health as well. As hydrogen power is produced from low or zero-emission sources, the use and production of hydrogen power helps to reduce the amount of carbon emissions or greenhouse gasses emitted into the air. The decreased amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will also improve breathing and help those who suffer with asthma or various respiratory diseases.  

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The U.K Hydrogen Strategy will help to replace up to a fifth of the gas that is currently being used, meaning that many of the country’s power plants will also be able to generate an increased amount of clean electricity. In short, the U.K Hydrogen Strategy is a domino-effect of positive benefits that will continue to help the U.K. fight against climate change whilst also reaching their individual environmental and emission reduction goals.

Blending hydrogen through the use of the U.K Hydrogen Strategy will help the country reduce their carbon emissions to the same extent if they were to remove 2.5 million cars off of the road annually. The best part is, the U.K Hydrogen Strategy is a mindless effort – businesses and homes across the United Kingdom will be reducing carbon emissions unknowingly, as no adjustments will need to be made to their boilers or heating systems.  

The U.K Hydrogen Strategy will ultimately serve as a way to seamlessly integrate clean energy into the daily lives of U.K. citizens, and help the U.K. accomplish several of their other environmental goals as illustrated in their Ten Point Plan and their U.K. Environment Act of 2021.  

However, is it safe to say that the U.K Hydrogen Strategy has been effective thus far?

Has the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy proven successful so far?

After a little over a year since the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy was first published, the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy has made some progress – but still remains stagnant considering several of its ambitious goals. 

The commitments delineated by the strategy will continue into 2030, but this progress refers to the 2021 and 2022 calendar years. However, it should be said that in April of 2022, the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy set forth several new goals, which could make it seem like the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy has been entirely successful until now – which is not the case. 

For example, the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy proposed to call for evidence for any ‘hydrogen-ready’ equipment to be implemented, and while they have started this – many responses are still awaited on by the government. The plan set out a goal to start an Industrial Fuel Switching competition worth £55 million pounds, and they were successful in doing so last August of 2021. 

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Consultations were set to install these ‘hydrogen-ready’ builders by 2026, and while the U.K. completed consultations for the hydrogen-ready builders, the consultation for the domestic builders has yet to be completed.The U.K. Hydrogen Strategy has called to review the gas system of the country in 2021, but no publications pertaining to the progress of this goal were published. Lastly the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy planned to implement a regulators forum for these hydrogen activities in 2021, and while this was organized in January 2022 – the forum has yet to be established on the internet. 

The U.K. Hydrogen Strategy has clearly put several of their goals in motion, even if they have yet to be fully achieved – but what are some of the ways the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy could strive for improvement? 

What updates have been made to the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy? 

Since its initial release in 2021, the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy has released several new goals. For example, the U.K. The Hydrogen Strategy has increased their goal to account for ten gigawatts of production for low carbon hydrogen by 2030 – aiming for at least half of this production to be done through the use of electrolytic hydrogen. The U.K. Hydrogen Strategy has also committed itself to finishing a plethora of plans that were meant to be accomplished by early 2022, though not all of them were. 

For instance, the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy strived to assess regulatory boundaries that could prevent hydrogen projects from taking place – but it wasn’t accomplished. However, the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy was successful in finalising their design and launching their £240 million fund for future hydrogen projects.

Despite these ambitious new goals, several of which were achieved – the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy still has a ways to go for several reasons. 

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What keeps the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy from being more successful?

The use and production of hydrogen energy isn’t always that easy. For instance, hydrogen power is difficult to store as it demands high pressure and low temperatures. Even if a country like the U.K. is able to produce mass amounts of hydrogen power – storing it can prove to be a challenge. 

To continue producing hydrogen powered at the rate the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy plans to do – more investors will have to financially support the plan. The good news is that investors are becoming more likely to commit to projects that help achieve net-zero emissions and work towards a more environmentally friendly future. In order to maintain hydrogen power, the cost of producing the fuel cell stack’s would also have to decrease if a full-blown hydrogen economy is to emerge. 

The U.K. Hydrogen Strategy is undoubtedly aspirational, but the government needs to work harder at clearly delineating how all of those goals will manifest into reality – a similar problem presented in the U.K.’s Ten Point Plan. 

If the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy wants to accomplish all that it is setting out to do: two important things are required – more money, and more detailed planning. 

Is the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy the answer for the United Kingdom to reduce emissions?

As with any effort to fight against climate change, there is no single solution that can put an end to a problem so catastrophic – rather, several different tactics must be put in place to curb the negative effects of global warming. However, that being said, the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy is playing its part – most notably with the implementation of the Net-Zero Hydrogen Fund and the Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard. Over time, these two programmes will help to transition the U.K. to a hydrogen powered economy – and encourage more businesses to acquire the environmentally friendly technology necessary to drive emissions down throughout the United Kingdom.

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The United Kingdom is clearly dedicated to leading the low carbon hydrogen market, and to improving sustainability throughout the country as a whole. However, it’s important for all of those in the country to recognize that this is merely the beginning: it will take some time before the hydrogen or nuclear market creates new jobs in the United Kingdom. 

In short, the long-term benefits of the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy have yet to present themselves, but the country has at minimum – finally met the starting line to cross the finish line at an eventual point in time. 

What about Greenly? 

If reading this article about the U.K. Hydrogen Strategy has made you interested in reducing your carbon emissions to further fight against climate change – Greenly can help you!

Greenly can help you make an environmental change for the better, starting with a carbon footprint assessment to know how much carbon emissions your company produces.

Click here to learn more about Greenly and how we can help you reduce your carbon footprint. 

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