Green hydrogen kickstart could add billions to UK economy

A new study by an alliance of top industry firms has found almost £11 billion of economic and environmental benefits could be gained from kick-starting the nation’s green hydrogen market.

These benefits could be delivered from building just three 300MW production facilities in high demand areas and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 1.7 million tonnes a year, the equivalent to taking 60,000 diesel lorries off the road.

The Green Hydrogen Alliance (GHA) is made up of industry leaders including Airbus, Air Products, Associated British Ports. Together, they aim to help policymakers ensure the UK becomes a leading global player in one of the most promising fuels of the future.

As the Government updates its Hydrogen Roadmap, the report sets out policy opportunities to help the country progress towards a green hydrogen future that will provide low-carbon fuels for industry.

The Alliance shows how three UK port areas – the Humber, Thames Estuary and South Wales – could act as hubs for rapid onshore hydrogen production: driving regeneration in deprived areas and significant economic and environmental benefits, including:

Carbon reduction: Over 1.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced every year, equivalent to taking 60,000 diesel lorries off the road.

  • Levelling up: local authorities in the port areas would gain an average £480 million from hosting green hydrogen production facilities.
  • Energy security: The plan would add 900MW of green hydrogen capacity – capable of producing 18% of the Government’s 2030 target.
  • Job creation: Over 8,000 jobs would be created directly in operation sites, plus many more in supply chains across the country.

In total, the plants would generate almost £11 billion for the UK.

The report calls for new measures to kick-start a green hydrogen market, through a variety of pathways, including widening options for feedstock imports and streamlining planning permissions for production and distribution infrastructure. These policies will give the UK the ‘shot in the arm’ needed to grow and create jobs in areas that need them most.

Alex Stafford MP, the Chair of the Hydrogen APPG, said: “This report highlights the immense economic and employment opportunities that former industrial areas across the UK stand to gain from accelerating our green hydrogen economy. The UK has a real chance to lead the way in green hydrogen, especially when British innovation in this area is combined with our rich industrial heritage, but we must go further and faster to make a hydrogen economy a reality in the UK.”

The proposed plant locations are government targets for economic regeneration and ideally positioned to produce hydrogen. Over 8,000 jobs would be created in the production and operation of green hydrogen plants, offering sustainable growth and opportunities to communities across the Humber, Thames Estuary and South Wales.

A Green Hydrogen Alliance spokesperson said: “Green hydrogen will be an important part of the UK’s future and journey to decarbonising. This report demonstrates the significant benefits that the UK can reap if we create the right investment environment to kickstart a flourishing green hydrogen market.”

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