Have we just missed a trick here in the UK by not coining a new National Renewable Energies Day? One could be forgiven for this slipping under the radar, but it’s not lost on us here at gasworld that in the same day we’ve seen the launch of both a Hydrogen Taskforce in the hallowed halls of Westminster and a new pathways report into biomethane’s potential from the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA).
Given the significance of both these means of energy or power, there is surely merit in making 2nd March a day annually devoted to championing renewable energies.
First and foremost, yesterday we saw a historic moment in the unfolding of the UK’s hydrogen story with the launch of the Hydrogen Taskforce – a cross-industry coalition charged with establishing 100 hydrogen stations in the UK by 2025. Backed by more than 10 major companies at the heart of the energy system – namely Arup, Arval, Baxi, BNP Paribas, BOC, BP, Cadent, DBD, ITM Power, Shell and Storengy – the Taskforce wants the UK Government to commit £1bn towards hydrogen projects.
It will align a wide range of stakeholders including government, industry and an informed public with the aim of driving investment in hydrogen to promote its large-scale deployment. The Taskforce has agreed a collective position on the next steps that must be taken to ensure the UK capitalises on this opportunity to decarbonise cost-effectively, and to play a leading role in the growing global market for hydrogen solutions.
At the same time, we’ve seen the launch of the Biomethane: The Pathway to 2030 report from ADBA, a major report which highlights the potential for biomethane to cut emissions in the hardest to decarbonise sectors of the UK economy – such as heat, transport, waste management and agriculture, and achieve the country’s Net Zero target.
With a supportive policy environment, anaerobic digestion (AD) technology could deliver a 6% reduction in total UK greenhouse gases emissions and 30% of the reduction needed by 2030 to meet our legally binding carbon budget. The new report sets out the pathway to full deployment by 2030 and identifies policy asks to stimulate growth.
To use some more colloquial discourse, what a ‘double-whammy’ we’re left reflecting on here.
It’s widely acknowledged with international consensus that hydrogen has the ability to unlock or underpin the transition to a sustainable energy future, while a Hydrogen Council study – titled Hydrogen, Scaling Up – shows that a $2.4 trillion market is waiting to be unlocked by 2050 once hydrogen is deployed at scale.
Combined with a biomethane sector that could produce 8 billion m3 of biomethane per year in the UK (enough to heat 6.4 million homes) by 2030, and we’re looking at the convergence of two powerful axes here in decarbonisation. All the more reason to celebrate that these two historic moments positively imposed – or perhaps watermarked – themselves on 2nd March 2020.
Surely that’s something to recognise this year and every year thereafter, and a marker against which we could continue to press home firm deliverables in our efforts towards a sustainable future.