Chair of NIC praises government announcement on hydrogen

Sir John Armitt

The chair of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has praised the Government’s “positive package of announcements” on hydrogen production.

Eleven new projects will see about £400m invested in the next three years, in a bid to grow the UK’s green economy.

The government has said 700 jobs will be created through the projects, as it said the projects represented the largest number of commercial scale green hydrogen production projects announced at once anywhere in Europe.

Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission Sir John Armitt said the first green hydrogen projects to receive support under this new production business model represented “a real milestone for the UK’s hydrogen ambitions”.

“This positive package of announcements rightly focuses on the need to quickly scale up access to hydrogen for those industries reliant on it to decarbonise,” he said.

“I’m pleased government has taken on board many of the Commission’s recommendations set out in our recent National Infrastructure Assessment, such as the creation of a core hydrogen network connecting industrial hubs, a consultation on the right mechanisms to support the early deployment of hydrogen power generation and storage, and a commitment to consider the need for a strategic energy reserve. 

“Given the scale of the decarbonisation challenge the country can’t afford to drag its heels, and the rolling programme of support to ramp up hydrogen production and a 2024 start date for allocating transport and storage business models shows the government is listening to the messages the Commission and others have been giving about the need for pace.” 

 Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho announced the backing for 11 major projects to produce green hydrogen, through a process known as electrolysis.

She confirmed suppliers will receive a guaranteed price from the government for the clean energy they supply.

This represents the largest number of commercial scale green hydrogen production projects announced at once anywhere in Europe, helping to place the country at the forefront of this emerging industry. 

Unlike blue hydrogen, which is formed using fossil fuels and capturing the carbon emissions, green hydrogen is made by using renewable energy to split water – helping provide cleaner fuel for energy intensive industries and transport.

In return for this government support, the successful projects will invest over £400 million in the next 3 years, generating more than 700 jobs in local communities across the UK and delivering 125MW of new hydrogen for businesses including:

•Sofidel in South Wales, who will replace 50% of their current gas boiler consumption with hydrogen at their Port Talbot paper mill

•InchDairnie Distillery in Scotland, who plan to run a boiler on 100% hydrogen for use in their distilling process

•PD Ports in Teesside, who will use hydrogen to replace diesel in their vehicle fleet, decarbonising port operations from 2026

Claire Coutinho said: “Hydrogen presents a massive economic opportunity for the UK, unlocking over 12,000 jobs and up to £11 billion of investment by 2030.

“Today’s announcement represents the largest number of commercial scale green hydrogen production projects announced at once anywhere in Europe.

“These 11 major new hydrogen projects across the UK will create over 700 jobs and deliver new opportunities from Plymouth in England to Cromarty in Scotland.”

Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance Lord Callanan said: “Today’s funding commitment represents a monumental step forward in helping producers to deliver a fuel of the future today, backing businesses to go greener.

“This will be essential to achieving our net zero targets, and will benefit people across the UK with the job and investment opportunities that this funding will bring.”

He added the Government was “not stopping there” with a new, second round of funding now available for producers to apply for, so they can develop the next round of projects and build on this success.


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