Development of an indigenous green hydrogen industry could generate £320bn for the UK economy and sustain up to 120,000 jobs by 2050, says new report released on Tuesday.
Offshore Wind and Hydrogen: Solving the Integration Challenge, examines the potential for hydrogen to play a key role in providing the flexibility and short and long-term energy balancing required for integrating high percentages of offshore wind into the UK energy system and achieving the country’s net zero climate change targets.
Launched by the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, the report highlights that the UK has the right level of offshore wind capacity potential, and a strong industrial base, combined with world-leading academic research, to develop a sustainable, low-cost green hydrogen industry, one that produces hydrogen without CO2 emissions from electrolysis of water.
According to the report, this will create a major new manufacturing sector for the UK and substantial export opportunities, bringing significant economic benefits.
By 2050, green hydrogen from UK offshore wind can be cheaper than blue hydrogen, which is produced from methane using carbon capture and storage, the report said.
However, to capitalise fully on this opportunity, the report calls for government intervention now and a new national strategy to support the creation of supply and demand in the new industry.
This includes an integrated approach to deliver accelerated deployment, supported by appropriate regulation and policy, targeted research and development, and the infrastructure to carry out full-scale demonstration and validation of new products and services.
“Offshore wind and hydrogen together form a compelling combination as part of a net-zero economy for the UK, with the potential to make major contributions to jobs, economic growth and regional regeneration as well as attracting inward investment, alongside delivering the emission reductions needed to meet our commitment to net zero,” said Julia King, The Baroness Brown of Cambridge, Offshore Wind Sector Champion and Chair of the Solving the Integration Challenge Sector Deal working group set up by OWIC.
“This is an exciting opportunity for the UK, we must act with urgency to get this industry operational and build on the UK’s strengths.”