Industry body says doubling hydrogen power target ‘not good enough’

The government plan, announced as part of the Energy Strategy, to double its target for hydrogen production is a step in the right direction but “it’s no manna from heaven” according to the UK’s leading hydrogen trade association.

Celia Greaves, CEO of leading hydrogen trade association UK HFCA, said plans to increase the target from 5GW of low-carbon hydrogen capacity by 2030 to 10GW was “good – but not good enough”, adding that much more needed to be done if the UK is to lead on hydrogen technology as the future fuel for homes, businesses and transport.

“Global hydrogen production is becoming more mainstream, and we do not want to be left behind,” she said. “Today’s announcement is certainly welcome, but the government could go further still which is why we have been advocating for a 20GW target for a number of years now.”

UK being left behind

Long-standing member of the UK HFCA and development director of ITM Power, Marcus Newborough, agreed: “Currently EU targets tower over UK targets with an 80-GW target by 2030, producing 20 million mega tonnes a year of renewable hydrogen. That’s a game changer.

“It seems to have taken the UK government a very long time to make this decision and while we all welcome it, it’s no manna from heaven.”

Ms Greaves said the UK HFCA and its 80-strong members would continue to lobby for more.

“Our aim is to accelerate the commercialisation of fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies and make the UK the best place for hydrogen and fuel cells across all applications and opportunities,” she said. “Every step in the right direction is worthy of celebration – we just need to be running rather than walking.”

Room for blue and green

In its announcement today, the government said it would also be making its target equally balanced across electrolytic and carbon capture, usage, and storage (‘CCUS’) enabled hydrogen technologies – something UK HFCA pushed for through two positioning papers.

The documents – The Case for Blue Hydrogen and The Case for Green Hydrogen – were published in 2021 and outline why the UK cannot just rely on only one type of low carbon hydrogen production. Both called for more policy support to help the UK deploy 80GW of blue hydrogen and 80GW of green hydrogen by 2050.

Ms Greaves said: “Our position papers clearly lay out the case for hydrogen – and the need to accelerate our targets further.

“In short, the UK requires a low carbon fuel that is well understood, has extensive regulations and standards in place, is readily scalable and which can be used across multiple energy vectors. Hydrogen is that fuel.”