PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has unveiled the immense economic potential of hydrogen heating for the UK. The ‘Economic Value of Hydrogen for Domestic Heat in the UK’ report not only highlights the financial benefits but also the substantial job creation opportunities and the pivotal role hydrogen can play in the nation’s journey to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
According to the report, hydrogen’s utilization for domestic heating between now and 2035 could inject a staggering £15 billion into the UK economy. This economic boost is not an isolated benefit but one that ripples across various sectors, offering a significant opportunity for job creation.
The impact of hydrogen heating isn’t confined to a single region. In fact, it presents a remarkable opportunity for economic growth across the UK. Emerging hydrogen projects, predominantly located outside of London, are set to reshape regional economies. The North-West of England leads the pack, with the potential to grow by £13 billion by 2050 and the creation or retention of 75,000 jobs. South-East England, Scotland, and Yorkshire and The Humber follow closely, further solidifying hydrogen’s role as a nationwide economic catalyst.
To achieve the UK government’s ambitious target of net-zero emissions by 2050, a transition away from fossil fuels is imperative. Hydrogen emerges as a low-carbon alternative to gas, capable of being produced domestically and stored for peak energy demand. Its compatibility with existing gas infrastructure ensures a smooth transition, offering a lifeline to those unable to electrify their homes due to constraints.
The global hydrogen economy is booming, with the US and Europe rapidly scaling up their hydrogen supply chains. Projections estimate the international hydrogen economy to be worth a staggering US $11.7 trillion by 2050. Today’s report underscores the UK’s position as the third most attractive destination for hydrogen investors in Europe, poised to benefit from substantial investments and bolster its economy.
The hydrogen economy isn’t just about heating; it’s about sparking a green-industrial revolution. Sectors like construction and manufacturing stand to gain the most from hydrogen’s widespread adoption, potentially creating over 300,000 jobs and injecting more than £22 billion into these pivotal industries.
Hydrogen can address the challenge of decarbonizing ‘hard to decarbonize’ homes, which make up a significant portion of the UK’s housing stock. The report highlights that upskilling the existing workforce of 140,000 gas boiler engineers to work on hydrogen heating is not only feasible but cost-effective.
The UK’s commitment to hydrogen for domestic heating could position the nation as a leader in international trade, capturing 7% of the global market share, translating to a remarkable £50 billion in revenue by 2050.
In the words of Dr. Angela Needle, Director of Strategy at Cadent Gas, the report reaffirms the positive impact of hydrogen on jobs and growth, emphasizing the UK’s potential to harness its world-class engineering talent to navigate the complex journey toward net zero.
As Oliver Lancaster, CEO of the Institution of Gas Engineers & Managers, aptly puts it, this independent analysis from PwC sheds light on the tremendous opportunities presented by hydrogen for heating, not only in terms of economic growth but also in propelling the UK toward a greener, more prosperous future.