IGEM welcomes Government's Energy White Paper on Plans for Clean Energy System

IGEM response

The Government's Energy White Paper published this week, outlines how the UK will decarbonise its energy system, tackle climate change and deliver a Green Industrial Revolution.

The measures set out in the Paper are estimated to reduce carbon emissions across power, industry and buildings by up to 230MtCO2e in the period to 2032, and in delivering this, support up to 220,000 jobs per year by 2030. Alongside investment in areas such as offshore wind, heat pump installation, Carbon Capture Utilisation & Storage (CCUS) and the development of industrial clusters, there are very promising commitments made to hydrogen.

We are pleased to see a target of 5GW of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, embracing both 'blue' and 'green' production methods, and an ongoing commitment to hydrogen heating trials. Building upon the Prime Minister's 10 Point Plan, the Paper reemphasises the scaling up of hydrogen infrastructure for the development of a Hydrogen Town before the end of the decade. Importantly, the Government acknowledge the need for further hydrogen research, changes to gas quality regulations and investment in the gas network for this to be achieved. The Government has also recognised the potential for hydrogen to deliver zero emissions technology for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV's), with a commitment to £20 million in freight trials next year.

In terms of current green gas supplies to the network, the Government has reaffirmed its commitment to increase the proportion of biomethane injected into the gas grid to accelerate the decarbonisation of gas supplies, with the expectation of trebling the amount of biomethane in the grid between 2018 and 2030.

Neil Atkinson, IGEM CEO says "It’s certainly been a significant month for climate and energy policy. With the launch of the Prime Minister's 10 Point Plan, the Committee on Climate Change's Sixth Carbon Budget and this week’s long awaited Energy White Paper, we are starting to see a much clearer policy picture of the UK's journey to net-zero carbon emissions and the role of gas within that. We welcome the opportunity for ongoing dialogue with Government on the future of gas as we work to transition to a clean energy system,  particularly consultation on ending gas grid connections to new homes from 2025 and the role of 'hydrogen ready' appliances. We also look forward to see publication of the Government's Hydrogen Strategy in 2021, which we expect to provide more detail on the Government's vision for a thriving hydrogen economy.

IGEM has led the industry consultation on change to gas quality regulations and is working closely with the gas networks and industry stakeholders to develop the first Hydrogen Technical Standards under the HyTechnical programme –  paving the way for hydrogen and other low carbon gases in the network. These underpinning activities are important first steps in making a hydrogen future a reality and we will continue to support the gas industry in realising its net zero ambitions."