LONDON — “We are proud and excited to launch The Thames Estuary Hydrogen Route Map. Through our Green Blue vision, our objective is to unlock £190bn of national growth potential by capitalising upon the unique built and natural assets of the Thames Estuary. The Growth Board works tirelessly to identify and catalyse new opportunities to create the cleanest and greenest river-side region anywhere on the planet.
Over the past six months, we have looked across the Estuary to understand the needs and opportunities and articulate the scope for a hydrogen ecosystem which is compelling and capable of attracting multi-billion-pound investment. A hydrogen ecosystem in the Estuary will have far-reaching, positive implications not only for the region, but for the UK as a whole.”
– Kate Willard OBE, Estuary Envoy and Chair of the Thames Estuary Growth Board
Today, The Thames Estuary Growth Board is launching The Thames Estuary Hydrogen Route Map. This significant step forward in hydrogen energy in the UK will keep the nation on track to net zero, support 9,000 jobs and deliver £3.8bn GVA to the UK economy by 2035.
The Hydrogen Route Map identifies where demand, supply, distribution and storage opportunities exist; outlines requirements of the investment market and pinpoints investment clusters; establishes a broad set of relationships with key stakeholders; and highlights the competitive advantage of locating a hydrogen ecosystem in the Estuary.
Nationally, this will keep the UK on target to net zero by reducing carbon emissions by up to 5.9 million tons annually. Ahead of COP26, the Thames Estuary is ready to play its part in international efforts to research, produce and use clean energy.
The Estuary’s position next to the capital and stretching out to the North Sea means it is uniquely placed to deliver a hydrogen ecosystem. The region has a wide range of potential end users across a number of industries, such as high heat industrial, transport (road, rail, air and river), data, and heating, with each starting to develop plans for their journey towards zero carbon.
Additionally, major infrastructure projects such as the Lower Thames Crossing offer an opportunity to demonstrate fossil fuel-free alternatives for construction. Crucially, in terms of storage, local demand for carbon dioxide presents an opportunity for re-use. Lastly, the Thames is also the largest port cluster in the UK, supported by a significant fleet of back-to-base logistics operations situated in multiple port locations.
Across the Thames Estuary region, developments in hydrogen will unlock substantial benefits for people and local economies, attracting more than £2.2billion of investment, and supporting its levelling up through job creation. The transition away from fossil fuels will help address issues of poor air quality and improve health and wellbeing.
The benefits of hydrogen are abundant. Hydrogen is a clean, renewable energy source in bountiful supply, with numerous sources to produce locally and a sustainable production system. It’s non-toxic and far more efficient than other sources of energy. Hydrogen can be a key enabler of decarbonisation across the heat and transport sectors, as well as energy-intensive industries such as chemicals, oil refineries and power.
The Thames Estuary Growth Board commissioned Ikigai and DNV to develop this Hydrogen Route Map following the Thames Estuary Hydrogen Summit in November 2020 attended by leaders and experts from industry, academia, transport and energy, which revealed a clear appetite and demand for hydrogen in the region. This week, the Thames Estuary will be calling on Government to back our Route Map in the Comprehensive Spending Review by providing source funding to kick off our Living Labs concept.
The UK Government is committed to delivering hydrogen at scale and plans to work with industry to achieve 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity in the UK by 2030. The Thames Estuary has the capability to power this ambition and support the Government in becoming a global player in hydrogen energy, owing to its natural and economic geography, and position as a strategic investment partner.
The Thames Estuary Growth Board is a strategic investment partner to Government and by commissioning bankable investment plans like the Hydrogen Route Map, this supports the levelling up agenda and national recovery from Covid. This is a compelling opportunity for investors to become part of the most amazing hydrogen project anywhere
The Thames Estuary is the UK’s biggest growth opportunity, with the potential to add £190bn GVA and create 1.3m jobs.
Kate Willard OBE was appointed by the Government to lead a dedicated Thames Estuary Growth Board. The Board set out its vision in July 2020, entitled ‘The Green Blue’, to realise the amazing potential of the Thames Estuary. It is called ‘The Green Blue’ because the Board aims to create good, green growth using the blue waterway of the Thames.
One year on, in July 2021, the Board launched the ‘Green Blue Workplan’, outlining what the Board will do to deliver the ‘Green Blue’ vision, mapping out focus areas for development in the region and key performance indicators.
The Board’s priorities include building an Estuary-wide hydrogen ecosystem to turbo-charge the Government’s hydrogen and net zero ambitions; utilise the Thames Freeport to attract inward investment, boost the national economy, and unlock green initiatives; invest in transport infrastructure developments, as well as utilising the river for both freight and passengers to ease congestion and reduce pollution on the region’s roads.
For more information on the Thames Estuary and to read The Green Blue Action Plan and Workplan in full, please visit the Thames Estuary website: www.thamesestuary.org.uk.