Making significant strides towards the U.K. government’s emissions target will require bold moves and a whole system approach, with different energy sources addressing the varying needs of industry, commerce and households. Hydrogen could play a critical role in assembling that puzzle.
A study conducted last year in collaboration with the Cheshire Energy Hub in the area around Ellesmere Port demonstrated how a local smart energy system, drawing on a reimagined combination of resources, could reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 34%. Extrapolating the findings nationally suggests the potential for serious emissions reductions.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson demonstrated a promising commitment to enabling a whole system approach to energy in November 2020 as he set out a 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution, which included investing up to £500 million in hydrogen.
This was further endorsed in December 2020 when the government published the long-awaited Energy White Paper, setting out how the U.K. will clean up its energy system and reach net zero emissions by 2050.
A credible, coherent and holistic plan for building a zero-emission energy system, it promises action across the board to deliver on the core goal of a “decisive and permanent shift away from our dependence on fossil fuels.”
Increased investment and new policy interventions either are confirmed or on the way relating to energy efficiency, green heating, hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, renewables, biomass, electric vehicles, smart grids, governance and regulatory reform, and nuclear power.
Achieving net zero by 2050 still will be fraught with challenges. So what does the government need to focus on now?