BoJo’s Plan to Transform UK Into ’Qatar of Hydrogen’ Meets Opposition in Gov't - Report
21:32 GMT 31.10.2021 (Updated: 01:12 GMT 01.11.2021)
"Green" hydrogen, which is produced using renewable energy sources, is considered to be one of the main clean alternatives to fossil fuels. Recently British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the UK would become the “Qatar of hydrogen” as part of the country’s plan to bring about a “green industrial revolution.”
The British government faces resistance while implementing hydrogen as an alternative to fossil fuel energy supplies, the Sunday Telegraph reported, citing sources in White Hall.
One of the sources claimed that some in the civil service aren't enthusiastic about promoting hydrogen as a crucial energy supply at the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow because of the sponsorship from such oil and gas giants as BP and Shell.
Another source claimed that some government officials “made a bet several years ago on electricity” and are now reluctant to consider clean alternatives.
“Much of what the civil service is doing now is reinforcing the decision that they made years ago at the expense of hydrogen. But it is the wrong horse,” the source said.
Hydrogen was said to be “entirely sidelined” as it hasn’t been mentioned in the 22-page document setting out the Government's COP26 events. Meanwhile, the alternative supply “would have been more of a cornerstone of the COP26 offer than it is,” according to Craig Mackinlay, leader of the Net Zero Scrutiny Group of Tory MPs.
Nevertheless, one anonymous official from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy stressed that the government is determined to continue to focus on hydrogen as part of its green shift.
“Our hydrogen strategy outlines a clear 'twin track' approach to supporting multiple technologies including 'green' electrolytic and 'blue' carbon capture-enabled hydrogen production,” he said.
The speculation comes as British construction equipment producer, JCB, announced that it has struck a deal for the supply of “green” hydrogen with Australian company Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), which envisages the latter selling 10 percent of its “green” hydrogen production to JCB.
Earlier in this month, speaking at the Global Investment Summit about British potential to attract capital, Johnson announced that Britain would “see new partnerships for green growth forged at today’s Global Investment Summit, as we look ahead to COP26 and beyond.”
Saying that the UK is now the "Saudi Arabia of wind power", he claimed the government wants to do the same with hydrogen to ensure an environmentally friendly future.
“We want to be the Klondike of CCUS, the Qatar of hydrogen,” the PM said.
He also announced that the UK has agreed with Bill Gates on a £400 million ($549.2 million) investment to boost green projects. According to Johnson, the deal would facilitate the so-called “green industrial revolution” and develop new technologies that are currently too expensive to be commercially successful, but critical to meet the government's climate goals.
Boris Johnson introduced the plan of creating a “green industrial revolution” in November last year in his 10-point program that envisages investments of £12 billion for reducing carbon emissions. One of its key goals is the implementation of hydrogen as the main alternative to fossil fuels. The strategy was said to trigger debates over the costs of the program between the British PM and members of his office, including Chancellor Rishi Sunak.