It’s been a big week for hydrogen, as the UK government unveiled the green hydrogen production initiatives that will be supported by the £240m ($296m) Net Zero Hydrogen Fund (NZHF).
The funding is part of the government’s larger plan to invest billions of pounds in scaling up affordable and clean energy and building green industries in Britain. Its goal is to advance the development of hydrogen.
We’re delighted that the Ballymena hydrogen production plant project to be developed in conjunction with Hygen Energy at Wrightbus headquarters in Northern Ireland is an awardee. Ryze will distribute to the surrounding region the clean hydrogen produced at this plant.
Last year (2022), the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund (NZHF) was introduced, which is valued at up to £240m. The fund’s objective is to finance the development and implementation of new low-carbon hydrogen production, reducing lifetime costs and mitigating investment risks.
The fund aims to support several low-carbon hydrogen production technologies under two categories. Strand One is intended to provide devex for front-end engineering design (FEED) and post-FEED activities, while Strand Two aims to provide capex support for hydrogen production projects that do not require revenue support through the hydrogen business model.
The announcement of NZHF funding was aligned with the UK Government’s updated Energy Security and Net Zero Growth Plans. The government reaffirmed its commitment to the target, which was revealed in 2022, of establishing 10GW of low-carbon hydrogen production by 2030, with 5GW being green.
In addition to announcing the recipients of the NZHF, the UK government also revealed two carbon capture utilization and storage-enabled (CCUS) projects that are advancing in the Track-1 clusters. Furthermore, the government released a shortlist of 20 projects that it plans to consider for the initial electrolytic hydrogen allocation round, which is anticipated to occur later in 2023.
We are delighted that Bradford’s first hydrogen hub being developed in conjunction with Ryze Hydrogen, Hygen Energy and Northern Gas Networks is on the shortlist.
Furthermore, the UK government has disclosed several other priorities today that could strengthen the hydrogen ecosystem. These priorities include allocating £160m to support port infrastructure projects aimed at initiating investment in floating offshore wind and planning to reform planning processes to encourage investment in renewable projects.
Grant Shapps, the Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary, acknowledged the effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on energy supplies. He stated that “this plan now sets out how we fix this problem in the long-term to deliver wholesale UK electricity prices that rank amongst the cheapest in Europe, as we export our green growth expertise to the world.”
The UK hydrogen industry had been anticipating a significant level of support from the government, following the swift and forceful legislative progress in the US, EU, and Canada, all of which have unveiled subsidy initiatives for low-carbon hydrogen production.
Chief Executive of Hydrogen UK, Clare Jackson, said of the announcement,“Today’s announcements do not go as far as the UK hydrogen industry had hoped, or match industry’s ambitious plans for the future of our hydrogen economy. Private sector investment will not wait forever. We look forward to further positive and concrete steps from the government as soon as possible, including on business models.”
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