The Thames Estuary is ready to become a major player in the Government’s plans to kick-start the UK’s hydrogen economy.
The UK Hydrogen Strategy was launched today citing an ambition to create 5GW hydrogen production capacity by 2030, delivering 9,000 jobs and a £900m industry by that date replacing natural gas in powering around 3 million UK homes each year as well as fuelling transport and businesses, particularly heavy industry.
Next month, the Thames Estuary Growth Board will publish its first Thames Estuary Hydrogen Investment Routemap and Delivery Plan. This sets out a demand and investment-led approach for a hydrogen ecosystem in our region. which comprises parts of east London, north Kent, south Essex and the River Thames
Thames Estuary Envoy Kate Willard OBE, who chairs the Thames Estuary Growth Board, said: “The Thames Estuary can play a major role in the Government’s ambitions for hydrogen. We welcome the UK Hydrogen Strategy and stand ready to work alongside Government to play our part in its delivery.
“Next month, we will publish our Investment Routemap and Delivery Plan for a hydrogen ecosystem and economy in the Thames Estuary. Our work has captured the scale of potential demand across a range of uses in industrial, logistics, public sector fleets, public transport and back up generation and identified very strong interest from a broad range of partners who see the Estuary as a landmark opportunity investment in a net zero future.
“Our Plan will map the value and delivery potential of a hydrogen economy within the Estuary, unlocking significant benefits in relation to growth, jobs, skills and clean air. It is a hugely exciting plan, and we know the Government will want to back it.”
The Thames Estuary is the most exciting growth region in the UK with the potential to generate £190 billion for the UK economy by 2050. The Thames Estuary Growth Board is a dynamic and stellar public/private sector board made up of talents from across politics, industry, transport, energy, planning, law and others. It has made enormous progress in its first 12 months delivering for people, businesses and communities of the region through its advocating, convening, and partnering role.
Its Green Blue Vision and Workplan sets out how the Thames Estuary Growth Board is delivering the legacy of the 2050 Estuary Commission. It is also delivering added value to the region by unlocking potential that would not be possible by local authorities or economic partnerships alone.
The scale of its remit means it can catalyse and deliver growth propositions to drive growth and benefit this place. So far, it has launched ambitious studies to identify new investment potential in hydrogen, infrastructure, waterborne freight and digital. It will be submitting those to Government for consideration as part of this year’s Comprehensive Spending Review.
The UK’s first-ever Hydrogen Strategy drives forward the commitments laid out in the Prime Minister’s ambitious 10 Point Plan for a green industrial revolution by setting the foundation for how the UK government will work with industry to meet its ambition for 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 – which could replace natural gas in powering around 3 million UK homes each year as well as powering transport and businesses, particularly heavy industry.
According to Government data, a booming, UK-wide hydrogen economy could be worth £900 million and create over 9,000 high-quality jobs by 2030, potentially rising to 100,000 jobs and worth up to £13 billion by 2050. By 2030, hydrogen could play an important role in decarbonising polluting, energy-intensive industries like chemicals, oil refineries, power and heavy transport like shipping, HGV lorries and trains, by helping these sectors move away from fossil fuels. Low-carbon hydrogen provides opportunities for UK companies and workers across our industrial heartlands.
With government analysis suggesting that 20-35% of the UK’s energy consumption by 2050 could be hydrogen-based, this new energy source could be critical to meet our targets of net zero emissions by 2050 and cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 – a view shared by the UK’s independent Climate Change Committee. In the UK, a low-carbon hydrogen economy could deliver emissions savings equivalent to the carbon captured by 700 million trees by 2032 and is a key pillar of capitalising on cleaner energy sources as the UK moves away from fossil fuels.