IGEM responds to the UK Hydrogen Strategy

IGEM welcomes the long awaited release of the UK Hydrogen Strategy. As the professional engineering institution of the gas industry, IGEM is passionate about engineering a sustainable gas future. We are working with the UK Gas Networks and key stakeholders, including the HSE, to support the safe transition of the network to a low carbon hydrogen future.

Oliver Lancaster, CEO of IGEM said "With hydrogen required at the core of an affordable net zero energy system, IGEM warmly welcomes the publication of this much-anticipated strategy. It has become clear that a national hydrogen network will be required to provide the storage and flexibility we need to safely and securely meet the demands across industry, home heating, power generation and transport. We look forward to continuing our engagement on the frontline for hydrogen to deliver a least cost, least disruption outcome for consumers.”

Building on the commitments made in the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan for a green industrial revolution, the UK Hydrogen Strategy sets out the government’s ambition to create a thriving low carbon hydrogen sector, with their analysis suggesting that a third of the UK’s energy consumption could be hydrogen-based by 2050. The commitments set out in the strategy are set to support over 9,000 UK jobs and unlock £4 billion investment by 2030.

We fully support the government’s plans for 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity and to establish CCUS in four industrial clusters by 2030. In particular, the commitments made to support the blending of hydrogen into the existing gas network and the ‘twin-track’ approach to hydrogen production – enabling the UK to leverage both electrolytic and CCUS-enabled low carbon hydrogen production, as a means to scale up production rapidly enough to meet the UK’s 2030 and 2050 carbon emissions targets.

IGEM welcomes the government’s commitment to review the Gas Act 1986 and gas quality standards to allow for decarbonised gases, such as hydrogen, into the network. This will include a Call for Evidence on the future of the gas system, calling on expertise throughout the energy system on the future role of gas. Through IGEM’s Gas Quality Working Group we are supporting the evidence base to change gas regulations, allowing for a wider range of decarbonised gases into the network. Working with key industry stakeholders in the IGEM Hydrogen Committee, we will continue to provide technical standards to facilitate the safe introduction of hydrogen into the gas network. Our HyTechnical project is developing new standards for the safe transmission and distribution of Hydrogen.

The strategy highlights the key role for hydrogen in decarbonising heat, aiming in late 2021 to consult on hydrogen ready boilers by 2026. IGEM are supportive of mandating hydrogen ready appliances as soon as possible, to ensure a smooth transition to hydrogen. Mandating hydrogen-ready boilers by 2026 will send a strong signal to the market to accelerate production in anticipation of demand, with manufacturers already well-prepared for this ramp-up. We look forward to collaborating with our members on an IGEM response to this consultation commitment.

The government have recognised the critical importance of upskilling and retraining the workforce for a hydrogen future and helping industry to develop sustainable, home-grown supply chains to create and maintain high quality jobs. The strategy commits to working with industry to support workers in high carbon industries access new jobs and prepare workers for hydrogen industries through skills programmes and retraining. IGEM welcome this approach and will continue to provide high quality, training courses and events for industry professionals on hydrogen, the future of gas and our technical standards. 

The full report is available to read here.