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Key steps to unlocking at least 5 GW of green hydrogen in the UK


ITM Power’s new ‘Gigafactory’ electrolyser manufacturing facility in Sheffield Photo: ITM Power
ITM Power’s new ‘Gigafactory’ electrolyser manufacturing facility in Sheffield Photo: ITM Power

RenewableUK has published a series of key policy recommendations in a new report to help the UK government achieve its target of 10 GW of low carbon hydrogen by 2030, including at least 5 GW from green hydrogen production.

The new report, titled Green hydrogen: Optimising net zero, shows that a UK-wide green hydrogen economy has the potential to create thousands of highly-skilled jobs throughout the country and will provide opportunities to become an exporter of green hydrogen, in particular to mainland Europe. Indeed, RenewableUK comments that the UK is ‘already capitalising on this opportunity’, with ITM Power establishing the world’s first electrolyser gigafactory in Sheffield and selling electrolysers to the world’s largest hydrogen plant in Germany. 


The policy recommendations include setting out a detailed roadmap showing how 5 GW of green hydrogen capacity can be secured by 2030, including a supportive planning regime which would enable electrolysers to be built alongside wind farms. RenewableUK is also urging the UK government to exempt electrolysers from some charges for access to the grid. 


It is calling for the introduction of a standard which specifically promotes green hydrogen as a zero carbon fuel, making it clear that other types of low carbon hydrogen do not have this pedigree. It is also urging the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to ensure that all types of green hydrogen projects, big or small, can receive support under the Hydrogen Business Model, which is similar to Contracts for Difference (CfD) for other renewables. 


Barriers in the planning system also need to be addressed, says RenewableUK, by introducing more funding and clearer and simpler rules nationwide that will allow large green hydrogen projects to be built faster. The same applies to the regulatory system, which does not yet take account of the over-riding need to reach net zero as fast as possible, it adds. 


The report was written by RenewableUK’s Emerging Technologies Policy Analyst Laurie Heyworth, who comments: ‘If ever there was a time to step up our efforts to replace expensive gas with a clean, flexible fuel which fulfills the same role but uses cheap renewables instead, it’s right now… Expanding our capacity to produce green hydrogen will enable us to make full use of the enormous amounts of clean power we’re producing from renewables. This could help consumers as well as boosting the UK’s energy security, because making hydrogen using renewables is set to become cheaper than using fossil fuels which are prone to volatility and global price shocks. This will allow us to take huge strides forward on decarbonisation and move closer towards energy independence over the course of this decade.’