“Are we there yet?”

15th Nov 2021

 

Come on, you must have heard that phrase, not just on a long car journey but also reference to COP26. I’m assuming it does finish (it’s Friday morning when I write this blog), so “are we there yet?”

It would be so easy to view a global gathering of leaders, agreeing a text to summarise their two-weeks together as the end of the journey. It isn’t, nor was it ever going to be. The hard yards start the day after. In Government, as in climate change policy, the actual delivery of change is what is difficult, writing a strategy or statement of intent is actually a breeze by comparison.

But the good news for the UK, is that the energy industry has plotted the roadmap to deliver on time. It just needs Ministers to press the actual go button.

Let’s remind ourselves of the stages. The beginning is energy efficiency, let’s reduce consumption, keep bills down and reduce carbon emissions permanently. It’s a no-brainer. The next two stages are around hydrogen, up and downstream. Government should consult immediately on mandating hydrogen-ready boilers from 2026 – they have promised it so now deliver. Upstream, they can reaffirm and support the blending of 20 per cent hydrogen into the gas grid. Stimulating the hydrogen supply chain, reducing carbon emissions (the equivalent of 3 million heat pumps being installed) with no change in consumer behaviour or changes of appliances.

The UK has been leading the global surge towards hydrogen; its enterprise has developed the hydrogen-ready boiler and proved that blending is both safe and practical. In the UK, we also have the world’s largest electrolyser factory and great ambition around industrial clusters and hydrogen use.

COP26 might be over and I hope it is not forgotten. The world came together not to argue whether climate change was real or not, but to debate how it is tackled. Whatever the eventual agreement looks like, its focus on delivery should be the biggest takeaway.

Mike Foster

EUA's Chief Executive

 

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