The Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA) says any calls for the government to drop funding for hydrogen are short sighted and ‘without consideration of UK consumers’.
Isaac Occhipinti, head of external affairs at EUA, said: “Academics, policymakers, think tanks, environmentalists and industry all agree that tackling emissions from heating is ‘difficult’, ‘hard to do’ and that we ‘need to utilise all of the tools available’.
“Calls to cease funding of hydrogen feasibility studies are without consideration of UK consumers. Independent analysis, carried out on behalf of EUA, and released last month, found that out of the 22.7 million homes using gas, 8 to 13 million (37% to 54%) of them lack the exterior space and building fabric thermal efficiency to enable a heat pump to meet the space heating requirements of the property without the need for disruptive measures, such as solid wall insulation.
“The ‘Decarbonising Heat in Buildings’ report recommends that use of heat pumps must be supported by a gas network carrying a decarbonised gas, such as hydrogen, which is Net Zero at the point of use and throughout its supply chain. Levels of disruption to people in their homes and high upfront costs means heat pumps are likely to be a solution for a minority of properties only.
“There is no denying that we will need hydrogen to help us decarbonise heating. Study after study has demonstrated its feasibility and effectiveness. With over 85% of homes being connected to the gas grid in the UK, the easiest and simplest way to decarbonise is to convert the existing network and home products such as boilers, to hydrogen.
“To support this, the boiler industry has recently committed to support any future UK government legislation which mandates that all new models of domestic boilers be ‘hydrogen-ready’ from 2025. With this assurance, BEIS have commissioned wide-ranging trials on using hydrogen for heating homes, with plans for a neighbourhood, and eventually a whole town, to use the decarbonised gas.
“This is not a fringe experiment but a global initiative to use a widely available and abundant resource to help us decarbonise, the UK has to be engaged in this transformation or it risks falling behind other countries, which are already investing heavily in hydrogen and setting ambitious targets.
“Tackling climate change is the most pressing and critical challenged we face. Without a choice of different heat technologies for the UK’s diverse housing stock, decarbonisation of heat will not gain the support of consumers and will therefore fail.”