Comment by Jeff House, Head of External Affairs at Baxi Heating.
The energy transition is upon us and we are shifting today’s energy use to low and zero carbon sources. The way in which we heat and provide hot water to our homes and businesses will change, and we are developing technologies that will support this transition. A bold and pragmatic policy framework will encourage investment and drive change.
We therefore welcome today’s publication of the Hydrogen Strategy from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). This important document details the role and vision for clean hydrogen deployment at scale in the UK, building upon the ambitions in last year’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.
As an energy carrier, hydrogen has many uses that will help to decarbonise heating, transport and industry. We therefore welcome the government’s assurance to the public today that hydrogen can be made as safe as natural gas.
Alongside the Strategy, the Government is publishing its proposed business model for supporting hydrogen production in the form of a Contract for Difference. This approach has been utilised successfully for offshore wind and will enable the sector to invest in early-stage projects and reduce the cost of hydrogen. The availability of low-cost hydrogen at scale is a key enabler of the deployment of hydrogen for heat.
We believe there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, and a whole range of heating technologies will need to be deployed for a range of properties.
Our work with the Hy4Heat project and associated demonstration sites in the UK show technical feasibility of this solution. We believe the Government should act upon advice from the Climate Change Committee and other sources advocating a mandate that all boiler sales from 2025 should be hydrogen-ready in order to help pre-populate a swathe of the housing stock ready for a future conversion.
Technology, energy efficiency and business models are all bit parts in the wider picture. Skilled installers and contractors will be utterly essential to success, so we are glad to see the announcement of a hydrogen sector development action plan in early 2022 setting out how the government will support companies to secure supply chain opportunities, skills and jobs in hydrogen.
Following the Hydrogen Strategy, we look forward to several important publications in the lead up to the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), including consultations on the role for hydrogen-ready appliances, off gas grid heating measures and the UK Heat and Buildings Strategy.