A new report has unveiled the immense potential of hydrogen in Wales and the south west of England, suggesting that it could generate up to 40,000 new jobs and attract £62 billion of investment to the region.
The report, called the Hydrogen Delivery Pathway Report, was launched at the Hydrogen Gateway event in Newport, highlighting the significant opportunities that hydrogen adoption can bring to the UK’s energy system.
The report, shaped by contributions from organizations including Wales & West Utilities, explores the numerous benefits of incorporating hydrogen into the region’s energy landscape. In addition to the job creation potential, it is projected to retain an additional 60,000 jobs and provide retraining opportunities for up to 108,000 workers, developing future-proofed skillsets aligned with the green economy. Moreover, the adoption of hydrogen can lead to capital investments ranging from £8 billion to £62 billion, providing a substantial boost to the local economy.
One of the key findings of the report is that using hydrogen can contribute to substantial carbon emissions reductions. By 2050, the pathway estimates that hydrogen adoption can save between 16,000 and 21,000 kilo tonnes of carbon emissions. This aligns with the region’s commitment to combating climate change and achieving net-zero emissions, particularly in challenging sectors such as heavy industry and transportation.
Sarah Williams, Director of Regulation, Asset Strategy and HS&E at Wales & West Utilities, emphasized the importance of developing low-carbon hydrogen infrastructure to tackle climate change effectively and reach ambitious decarbonization targets. Williams highlighted the potential of hydrogen to enable a smooth transition to low-carbon energy, ensuring the safety and reliability of the energy system.
Hydrogen is an attractive option as a low-carbon alternative to gas, with the advantage of being producible and storable within the UK. Its compatibility with existing gas pipelines eliminates the need for costly infrastructure modifications. This aspect makes hydrogen particularly promising for decarbonizing sectors that are not easily electrifiable, such as heavy industry and residential heating.
Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, is actively exploring options to leverage its extensive network infrastructure for transporting low-carbon gases, including hydrogen, through its 35,000 kilometers of pipes in the region. This effort further strengthens the region’s potential to become a leading hub for hydrogen adoption and innovation.
The Hydrogen Delivery Pathway Report also identifies opportunities for the region to lead in net-zero aviation and rail innovation, as well as decarbonizing major industries like steel production in South Wales. As a partner in the South Wales Industrial Cluster and a founding member of Hydrogen South West, Wales & West Utilities is actively involved in driving these initiatives forward.
The adoption of hydrogen presents an exciting opportunity for Wales and the south west of England to position themselves at the forefront of the green revolution, delivering economic growth, job creation, and sustainable development. By embracing this low-carbon alternative, the region can contribute significantly to the UK’s net-zero ambitions while ensuring a secure and reliable energy system.