A new campaign group called Hydrogen Strategy Now, has collected signatures of over 40 businesses in the UK calling for clarity on the Government’s future hydrogen strategy.
The businesses have vowed to invest £1.5 billion in switching vehicles to hydrogen and Hydrogen Strategy Now has written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak to set out a commitment to unlocking investment, creating jobs and reducing emissions.
The cross-industry group, which combined employs around 100,000 people and has a value of £100bn in the UK, believes the UK has the potential to become a global leader in low-carbon hydrogen technology, but it must move fast to realise this opportunity and achieve the maximum economic benefit.
It follows announcements from the European Commission for its multi-billion-euro green recovery plan, with both Germany and Canada also outlining large-scale fiscal support for kick-starting their hydrogen economies.
The letter to the Chancellor states:
“As you look to design a post-COVID recovery, we encourage you to focus on creating high-skilled, green jobs, in sectors that will be critical to the future economy, such as low-carbon energy, transport and heavy industry.
“These measures would be wholly complementary to the Government’s levelling-up agenda and long-term decarbonisation goals. For example, the Committee for Climate Change has made it clear that the UK will not meet its Net Zero targets without significant investment in the hydrogen economy.
"The global hydrogen economy is estimated to be worth $2.5 trillion by 2050, supporting 30 million jobs. Other nations, such as Australia, Japan, South Korea, Canada, and China have already set ambitious strategies for growing their hydrogen economies.
“Just last week, Germany joined this list with their own €9 billion hydrogen strategy.
“The European Commission is also creating an EU hydrogen strategy, which includes plans for multi-billion euro investment in hydrogen projects, and schemes to boost sales of hydrogen electric vehicles.
"It is now clear that hydrogen is going to play an essential role in the world’s future, low-carbon economy. The increasingly bold steps being taken by other nations underlines the need for the UK to bring forward urgent measures to establish a hydrogen strategy and unlock investment and innovation. We should not risk falling behind other nations in developing our hydrogen industry.”
Baroness Brown, vice-chair of the influential Committee on Climate Change, which is due to publish its annual report to Parliament this month, said that UK can't afford to miss the boat on hydrogen.
She said: “I strongly agree that the UK urgently needs a hydrogen strategy, as there are too many small, piecemeal funds and projects.
“We need some serious private and public funding, and a coordinated effort between government and industry, to kick start and grow a green-job-creating hydrogen economy across the country".
Business leaders from the following firms have signed the letter and backed the campaign:
2. Air Products
4. Anglo American
16. Energy UK
20. Green Tomato Cars
23. Johnson Matthey
32. UK H2Mobility
37. Wales & West Utilities