The leading body for the UK’s offshore energy industry, Offshore Energies UK (OEUK), has praised news that the UK and Germany have signed an agreement to work together to accelerate the development of an international hydrogen industry.
Low-carbon hydrogen has the potential to become one of the UK’s largest sources of energy by 2050. OEUK’s recent Economic Report found it is expected to grow from nothing now to around 100 TWh by 2035 (7% of energy) and over 200 TWh by 2050 (17% of energy).
It offers flexibility as a means of storing energy in periods of excess renewable power generation and can help decarbonise the UK’s industrial, transport and heating sectors. Low carbon hydrogen is not yet at a stage where it can play a significant role in the UK’s energy system, but with the progression of CCS clusters, business models to support early production and demand-side policies, the UK could be at the forefront of the global hydrogen market by the end of the decade.
The British Energy Security Strategy set the ambition of developing 10 GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity in the UK by 2030. At least half of this will be from electrolysis and the rest from CCS using gas as the feedstock. The aim is to have a minimum of 1 GW of electrolytic hydrogen in construction or operational by 2025, with a scale up in the remainder of the decade.
The offshore energy supply chain and its technology and people will be at the heart of making this happen. It has expertise in offshore infrastructure, operations and project development that will be vital for building new offshore wind farms, storing carbon and producing hydrogen.
OEUK Head of Energy Policy Enrique Cornejo said:
“The UK needs to boost energy security, improve affordability and reduce emissions and its homegrown offshore energy sector can help tackle each of these national challenges.
“The energy resources in the waters around the UK give us a great foundation, with significant hydrogen potential, Europe’s largest offshore carbon storage potential, enough oil and gas resources to supply over half the country’s needs and the world’s second largest offshore wind capacity.
“The UK is in a global race for investment in energy projects and international agreements like these are a boost which could help us lock in the homegrown advantage. With the right support, it means we can deliver an energy future which helps millions across the UK and does so in a way which grows the economy, supports jobs and anchors new industries in our communities.”