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Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled his ‘Ten Point Plan’ last year to create 250,000 British jobs in clean energy, transport, nature and innovative technologies. Mr Johnson wants the UK to become a “science superpower” after Brexit by inspiring a “green industrial revolution” to reach the legally binding net zero target by 2050. Last week, the Government published its strategy to “kick start a world-leading hydrogen economy” in the UK.
Laying out the plans, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said it will support over 9,000 UK jobs and unlock £4billion worth of investment by 2030.
And Chris Stark, the Chief Executive of the Climate Change Committee, says it will play a “really important part” in reaching Mr Johnson’s goal.
He added: “Although we can have lots of electrified technology from off-shore wind, that won’t cover all the cases where we use fossil fuels.
“There are other areas where hydrogen might play a role, like in our homes for heating and we might use it for transport as well.
“The important thing is we need to start that process, building the industry and the demand.
“There will be a point in the next 20 years where we have an excess supply of off-shore wind and we can credibly generate lots of hydrogen.”
Hydrogen can be made either using methane, with the emissions captured and stored, classed as “blue,” or through electrolysis, considered “green” if renewable electricity is used.
Blue hydrogen has received criticism after a study claimed it could be dirtier than gas or coal.
But Mr Stark says its capabilities will evolve.
He said: “Blue hydrogen has a role, we call it a bridge to that world in the future when we have lots of green hydrogen supply.
“Over the next 15 to 20 years its really important that if we are going to use hydrogen in that way we minimise the emissions that go with that.
“That’s something we think can be done and I think the Government strategy is pretty good on that – Kwasi should be congratulated for thinking about it.
“I don’t want to dismiss the problems of emissions from blue hydrogen, but if the Government is careful about this, then I think we can look forward to that bridge where we are generating hydrogen with zero emissions.”
The United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, is less than three months away from being held in Glasgow, Scotland.
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Mr Johnson is said to be feeling the heat from all sides as campaigners are demanding that he set out more climate change details, while a group of about 30 Tory MPs are increasingly concerned about the impact on the cost
But Mr Stark believes the UK is “absolutely” nestled in the “perfect storm” of opportunities to succeed.
He continued: “The logic of the UK hosting COP26 is that we have a good start to tell the rest of the world about how to manage this transition.
“I think there is a wonderful opportunity over the next two months to bring together these plans for net zero.
“This is something that will benefit the economy, benefit society and the general population.
“We have the capacity in the UK to put a plan together, this can be a real moment for the UK to show off in front of world leaders when they all meet for the first time in over two years.”
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