A cross-industry group of companies has called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to lay the foundations for a UK-wide hydrogen strategy, as the UK looks to plot its path for a post-COVID green recovery.
Backed by Baroness Brown, vice-chair of the Committee on Climate Change, the letter sent to the Chancellor from cross-industry group, Hydrogen Strategy Now, says having a clear strategy in place will unlock significant private investment in hydrogen technologies and manufacturing across the country, generating growth and thousands of green jobs.
The group estimates that the hydrogen economy will be worth $2.5 trillion by 2050, with many other nations across the world already having set ambitious strategies for growing their hydrogen economies, such as Germany which recently announced a €9 billion hydrogen strategy.
The European Commission is also creating an EU hydrogen strategy, which includes plans for multi-billion euro investment in hydrogen projects, and schemes to boost sales of hydrogen electric vehicles.
The letter says the UK has the potential to become a global leader in renewable and low-carbon hydrogen technology, but that the country must move fast to realise this opportunity and achieve the maximum economic benefit. The group believes a UK-wide hydrogen economy will create and sustain hundreds of thousands of highly-skilled green jobs in all parts of the country; drive progress to Net Zero and improve air quality in towns and cities; secure private investment into the UK, and unlock export opportunities for our products and skills; and increase our energy security by making fuller use of the UK’s natural resources
“These measures would be wholly complementary to the Government’s levelling-up agenda and long- term decarbonisation goals,” stressed the letter. “For example, the Committee for Climate Change has made it clear that the UK will not meet its Net Zero targets without significant investment in the hydrogen economy.”
“It is now clear that hydrogen is going to play an essential role in the world’s future, low-carbon economy, and the increasingly bold steps being taken by other nations underlines the need for the UK to bring forward urgent measures to establish a hydrogen strategy and unlock investment and innovation,” the group writes. “We should not risk falling behind other nations in developing our hydrogen industry.”
The Hydrogen Strategy Now collective, is made up of more than 40 companies which employ around 100,000 people, have a combined value of £100bn in the UK, and is ready to invest up to £1.5bn in hydrogen projects.