UK to secure hundreds of new jobs from £2bn hydrogen investment in major ener…

Ministers will create 700 jobs when it invests £2 billion into 11 green hydrogen projects to help supply industry with renewable power.

These projects will create 700 jobs over 15 years and will supply a Port Talbot paper mill, a whisky distillery in Scotland and a logistics company in Teesside, which will swap diesel for hydrogen in their vehicles.

Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho said: “Hydrogen presents a massive economic opportunity for the UK, unlocking over 12,000 jobs and up to £11 billion of investment by 2030.

“Today’s announcement represents the largest number of commercial-scale green hydrogen production projects announced at once anywhere in Europe.”

The Government said the proposed Redcar hydrogen trial in the north-east of England is to be scrapped due to a lack of supply.

It had faced strong opposition from local residents and energy experts who see using hydrogen for home heating as inappropriate.

Around 2,000 people were going to have their gas boilers replaced with hydrogen ones with the Government wanting to legislate to allow gas companies to forcibly change them against the will of residents.

This plan was scrapped at another proposed trial site in Ellesmere Port in north-west England because of local opposition.

Dawn Campbell, a Redcar resident, said: “I hope this decision will ensure that any future proposals on the inevitable changes required in meeting our energy needs are made together with independent experts and residents and identify the questions and answers that have caused so much stress in this community.”

Secretary of State for Energy Security Claire Coutinho said the Government will still make a decision in 2026 on whether hydrogen is suitable for home heating, using evidence from similar trials in Fife and across Europe.

Alice Harrison, fossil fuels campaigner with Global Witness, said: “The Redcar hydrogen trial was a red herring. Using hydrogen to heat homes is dangerous, energy-intensive and more expensive than other low-carbon technology like heat pumps.”

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Experts had warned that using hydrogen for homes would require such large amounts that some of it would have to be imported or supplied with blue hydrogen – so called as it requires burning fossil fuels to produce – which would negate the point of switching from gas.

They said using green hydrogen – which is produced with renewable energy only – should be used sparingly for industries that are difficult to remove from fossil fuels whereas heat pumps or other low-carbon systems can be used to heat homes.

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