Set-piece events in the political calendar, both conferences see thousands of politicians, media, businesspeople, charities, unions, and campaign groups brought together.
H2 View understands the Hydrogen Zone will exhibit a hydrogen-powered double-decker bus, hydrogen boiler, and an electrolyser, as well as hosting models and graphic displays of hydrogen projects in the UK.
Under the message of ‘Jobs, Investment, Security, Decarbonisation’, the zone is set to be located next to the main exhibition hall at both conferences where senior politicians, including the Prime Minister, and Leader of the Opposition will deliver keynote speeches to delegates and the media.
Delegates at both conferences will be able to visit the Hydrogen Zone, which is set to feature companies including Cadent, Centrica, Glass Futures, Johnson Matthey, NGN, Project Union, Protium, RWE, SGN, Sizewell C, UK H2Mobility, Worcester Bosch, and Wrightbus.
The Labour party conference is taking place in Liverpool, UK on September 25-28 (2022), while the Conservative party conference will head to Birmingham on October 2-5 (2022). There will also be a drinks reception taking place on September 27 at the Labour conference, and October 4 at the Conservative conference, which all delegates can attend by registering here and here.
Hydrogen in the UK
With surging energy prices, the potential for hydrogen to secure energy supply in the UK has been brought into the limelight. With top politicians within both parties publicly backing the clean energy carrier, there have been hopes for the future of the industry.
The new Business Secretary, Jacob Rees-Mogg on September 9 (2022) told the House of Commons that the UK cannot be held captive by “volatile global markets of malevolent states” and that the root cause of problems in the energy market must be tackled by boosting domestic supply.
Rees-Mogg, said this could be achieved by, “investing in renewable energy with vim and vigour, accelerating the deployment of wind, solar, and particularly exciting, hydrogen technologies.”
However, with cuts to the green levy unveiled by Prime Minister Truss as part of her plans to cap household energy costs at £2,500 ($2,827) per year, for two years, as well as intentions to open up new oil wells in the North Sea and reinstate fracking in areas of the UK, some fear this could negatively impact the green hydrogen sector.
Chris Jackson, CEO & Founder of Protium Green Solutions, said, “Cuts to green levies do nothing to address this and would be negative to long-term UK investment in green energy. Removing policies that create a level playing field between clean fuels and polluting fuels is effectively subsidising fossil fuel use, which sends the wrong message to investors, to end users and ultimately to the public. We cannot fall back on fossil fuels in times of crisis.”
While William Rowe, CEO of Octopus Hydrogen, told H2 View, “Energy levies moving to general taxation will in the long-term make electricity cheaper relative to gas, which is great news. This means heat pumps become more appealing than gas boilers and hydrogen blending looks increasingly expensive and bad value for bill payers.”
“We already have world-leading support in the UK for green hydrogen. A continued focus on more renewables and support for hydrogen is what’s needed to deliver quickly on the UK’s energy security, Net Zero and affordability goals.”
A new PM – a new shade of support for UK hydrogen?
As the week draws to a close, a new chapter for the UK has begun. With Liz Truss having won the Conservative leadership election, ahead of Rishi Sunak, she has now taken residence in 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister. With a fresh cabinet around her, Truss is faced with the monumental challenge of surging energy prices, which appear set to define her premiership.
Despite hydrogen’s potential to secure energy supply being recognised by many, the industry’s nascency means it is unlikely to play a short-term role in the UK’s attempt to combat surging costs and security fears. However, Truss’ first winter in office could be a key indicator as to what the future holds for the industry.
Under the current UK hydrogen strategy, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) predicts that by 2050, hydrogen could deliver up to a third of the country’s final energy consumption. Additionally, with many funding and projects already being well in motion in the UK, it would see unlikely that this work would be undone in the short-term. Truss faces a short stint in office, with a General Election set for January 2025, and the opposition party, Labour, not opposing plans for hydrogen in the UK, it could be assumed current developments are safe.
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