Government unveils plans to lead 'global race' and create 'export opportunities' in hydrogen sector

Tue 17 Aug 2021
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News


The government has unveiled plans for the UK’s low carbon hydrogen sector which could create “tens of thousands of jobs, billions of pounds in investment and new export opportunities”. 

A total of 100,000 jobs could be created in the £13 billion sector by 2050, the government claims.

It is expected that hydrogen, as a new energy source, will play a key role in decarbonisation strategies for energy-intensive industries like chemicals, oil refineries and heavy transport including shipping, HGV lorries and trains.

Global race

The government says that investing in the hydrogen sector could provide “opportunities for UK companies and workers across our industrial heartlands”.

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the new strategy puts the UK ahead in the “global race” to seize the jobs and investment that the “hydrogen revolution” could bring.

“With the potential to provide a third of the UK’s energy in the future, our strategy positions the UK as first in the global race to ramp up hydrogen technology and seize the thousands of jobs and private investment that come with it,” he said.

Hydrogen hike

With hydrogen set to play a key role in helping the government reach net zero emissions by 2050, household energy bills could rise as the costs of the energy transition are passed on to consumers.

According to the Telegraph, bills could rise across the board even though only about 10% of houses would be heated by the gas.

Local food debate

The news comes as the government’s Department for International Trade (DIT) distanced itself from a ‘Green Trade’ report produced by its advisers, including former Australian PM Tony Abbott.

The Board of Trade report claims that buying local food is “not always the most environmentally sustainable choice” if it can be produced more efficiently elsewhere.

A spokeswoman for the DIT told the Times said that the report was “not government policy”.

“The UK has some of the most ambitious climate change policies in the world and we are using our voice to support vital environmental issues at the World Trade Organization and bold environment chapters in trade deals we are negotiating,” she said.

Green trade

The Green Trade report was heralded by international trade minister Liz Truss when it was published.

As reported in IOE&IT Daily Update, Truss said: ““Green trade presents a major opportunity for the UK, creating high-value jobs in the low-carbon economy, driving sustainable growth in all corners of the nation, and fuelling technological innovations that can be exported to the world”.

The UK is well-placed to bring together trade and environmental agendas as a global leader on decarbonisation and a champion for free trade, the report concluded.

It claimed that 1.2 million jobs could be created in the low carbon sector in England by 2050.