UK economy can get GBP 320bn boost by future offshore wind-to-hydrogen industry

London Array wind farm. Image by: Masdar (www.masdar.ae).

September 9 (Renewables Now) - Building an indigenous green hydrogen industry in the UK could deliver a cumulative gross value added (GVA) of between GBP 160 billion (USD 207.4 bn/EUR 176bn) and GBP 320 billion by 2050, says a new report.

The Offshore Wind and Hydrogen: Solving the Integration Challenge Report by the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult was released on Tuesday. It evaluates hydrogen’s potential to help provide the flexibility, and short and long-term energy balancing, needed for the integration of greater percentages of offshore wind into the UK energy mix and achieving the country’s net-zero climate change targets.

In the report’s low scenario, the UK’s capacity to produce green hydrogen from offshore wind reaches 24 GW by 2050 and the GVA over the period surpasses GBP 160 billion. In the high scenario, the capacity is 58 GW and the cumulative GVA is about GBP 320 billion. 

The authors of the report urge the government to act now and prepare a national strategy to support the creation of supply and demand in the new industry. It calls for an integrated approach to deliver accelerated deployment, supported by appropriate regulation and policy, targeted R&D, and the infrastructure to carry out full-scale demonstration and validation projects for new products and services.

“Offshore wind is on track to become the backbone of our electricity system and that role will become even more important as it becomes the power source to make low-cost renewable hydrogen at scale. The UK needs to build full-size pathfinder projects as soon as possible to secure our position as a world leader in this exciting new combination of innovative technologies,” said Benj Sykes, Industry Chair of OWIC.

According to ORE Catapult chief executive Andrew Jamieson, the same forces of rapid innovation and scale-up that made possible the sharp drop in the offshore wind cost we have witnessed will also apply to hydrogen technologies, such as electrolysers. The report says that by 2050, green hydrogen produced from offshore wind in the UK can be cheaper than blue hydrogen produced from methane using carbon capture and storage.

The full report is here: https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/media.newore.catapult/app/uploads/2020/09/07105124/Solving-the-Integration-Challenge-ORE-Catapult.pdf

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Browse all articles from Tsvetomira Tsanova

Tsvet has been following the development of the global renewable energy industry for almost nine years. She's got a soft spot for emerging markets.

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