£90m funding for hydrogen plants and renewable energy projects launched

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£90 MILLION funding towards cutting carbon emissions in industry and homes was announced by Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng earlier this week.

£70 million of the funds will be towards two of Europe’s first-ever large scale, low carbon hydrogen production plants – the first on the banks of the Mersey, the second planned for near Aberdeen.

A third project will develop technology to harness offshore wind off the Grimsby coast to power electrolysis and produce hydrogen.

Visiting the Gigastack project in Grimsby earlier this week, Mr Kwarteng commented on the new funding: “Cleaning up emissions from industry and housing is a big challenge but today’s £90 million investment will set us on the right path as we develop clean technologies like hydrogen.

“This is an important part of our world-leading efforts in eliminating our contribution to climate change by 2050 while also growing our economy, creating up to two million green collar jobs across the country by 2030.”

Hydrogen is a low or zero-emission alternative to fossil fuels which could power future industry and transport.

A further £18.5 million of funding is being awarded to projects developing and trialling technologies to move industrial concrete and glass production away from fossil fuels and onto renewables.

The projects have the potential to be scaled up and rolled out across industry, meaning houses and roads could be built using low-emission concrete by 2030.

This would prevent 3.2 million tonnes of CO2 a year from polluting the environment – equivalent to taking 679,000 cars off the road.

The remaining £20 million will be used to fund projects that aim to cut household emissions and bills through nine UK-wide local ‘smart energy’ projects.

With the help of this funding, over 250,000 people could have their homes powered by local renewable sources by 2030 – which could lead to their energy bills reducing by as much as half.

If successful, the ten community pilot projects from Rugeley near Stafford to Coleraine in Northern Ireland could revolutionise local energy generation – allowing local communities to join the frontline in the fight against climate change.

In Rugeley, a coal-fired power station is to be demolished and turned into a sustainable village of 2,300 homes.

Residents will benefit from thermal storage units instead of traditional gas boilers, enabling them to draw, store and heat their homes with geothermal energy from local canals and disused mine shafts.

In Coleraine, a micro-grid of nearly 100 homes will be established, powered entirely by local wind power.

It will help lower household electricity bills by as much as 50% and boost the contribution of renewables to the local energy mix by a quarter.

The news comes just two weeks after the Prime Minister announced plans to bring forward the phase-out of coal to 2024.

View the full breakdown of the awarded funding here