Consultation examines developing hydrogen energy sector in Wales

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A new consultation seeking views on a Welsh Government-commissioned ‘Hydrogen in Wales’-report, which sets out a proposed pathway and next steps for developing the hydrogen energy sector in Wales, has been launched.

The report sets out several proposals, including:

  • Deploying 200 fuel cell buses in a town/city/ region in Wales
  • Establish Wales as an early market for commercial fuel cell vehicles
  • Consider support for vehicle manufacturers such as Riversimple, a Wales-based designer and manufacturer of fuel cell electric vehicles
  • Attract vehicle integrators to Wales
  • Deploy fuel cell trains in Wales
  • Establish at least one renewable hydrogen production site 10+ MW by 2023/24
  • Scope large-scale hydrogen production sites
  • Support industrial decarbonisation through skills development and R&D
  • Support local projects and place-based approaches
  • Engage with other hydrogen initiatives

A key aim of the hydrogen pathway is to inform activities that will take place in the short
term in Wales (to 2025).

The proposed objectives from the pathway will be further refined following feedback and developed into projects which can be delivered in Wales.

Development and delivery will require collaboration and support from a range of stakeholders, including governments, public sector, industry, business and academia.

Leslie Griffiths, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, stated in the executive summary for the consultation: “The climate emergency demands we use all
the tools at our disposal to accelerate progress to a net-zero energy system.

“We are already actively pursuing greater energy efficiency in our buildings and industries, we have a world-leading approach to recycling and waste management, and last year there
was enough electricity generated from renewable sources to meet half Wales’ power needs.

“We are on track to meet our first Carbon Budget but looking ahead, we will need to do even more. Much of this will be set out in the next Low Carbon Delivery Plan, due to be published in November 2021, and I want to include hydrogen as a vital component of our shift towards the goal of net-zero.

“Whilst we have effectively banished coal from use for power, we still rely on oil and
gas to maintain an affordable and secure energy system.

“Hydrogen is one of the ways we can shift our reliance away from these fossil fuels and while it is still a developing technology, its unique properties mean it could have a role in Wales’ future power, transport, industrial or heating systems, or more likely a combination
of these.

“Wales needs to be in a position to develop and capture the opportunities offered by
hydrogen.

“For this reason we commissioned Element Energy to baseline where we presently are in Wales with hydrogen-related industries and technologies and to provide a vision of a future Wales, where we can take all the opportunities of a more hydrogen-enabled, lower-carbon energy economy.

“This document illuminates the latter and sets out a possible prospectus of ten short-term objectives which should, if we can work well together, help accelerate Wales down a hydrogen-enabled path.

“We are seeking your constructive thoughts both on the strategic vision and, particularly from those at the sharp end of either energy use or energy technology developments, on the feasibility of this actions-based hydrogen pathway.

“Our next Low Carbon Delivery Plan for Wales will need everyone to play their part.

“I am, therefore, particularly interested in responses which explore which actions are needed, and who needs to take them, to help make the most of this promising technology.”

Responses to key strategic questions received as part of this consultation will help the Welsh Government with the process.

More information about this consultation, closing on 9 April 2021, and how to take part is available on the Welsh Government website.