In other news

1st Jun 2020


Let me begin by saying I have never been to Barnard Castle and I usually go to Specsavers to test my eyes, so I’ll concentrate on other news this week.

There’s been a gradual, but noticeable shifting of mainstream opinion regarding the future role of gas in the past two weeks. The debate seems to have shifted from hydrogen v non-gas energy vectors, to an argument over “green” v “blue” hydrogen. I said a few years ago, this was a distraction and remain firmly of that view now. 

If we lose precious time, resources, and frankly, goodwill in a bun-fight between what is the source of hydrogen, we have missed the big picture. At this stage, it doesn’t really matter. The main challenge for policymakers is to be certain there will be enough low carbon gas for the foreseeable future, well past the 2050 Net Zero deadline. To start an inter-hydrogen battle now risks giving the hydrogen-sceptics further ammunition to fire at those of us who believe in the social, economic, and political merits of a hydrogen future. 

Of course “green hydrogen” is a great concept, who could be against it, but that doesn’t mean it is the only source passing a “purity test”. Blue hydrogen, generated from methane with CCUS, will also be needed to fuel the energy markets of the future. And remember, it is the Inter-Government Panel of Climate Change (IPCC), not a gas-industry lobbyist, that has concluded we need CCUS technology to meet our global emission targets. 

The UK energy industry would be better placed if it worked together on an overall hydrogen narrative, encompassing all forms, rather than trying to seek commercial advantage with a particular form of hydrogen. Once the war is won, policy in place to back hydrogen, then let market forces determine how best to deliver it – protecting the environment, sustaining UK jobs and keeping consumer bills low. That is the way to a truly Green New Deal.

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CEO