10 Point Plan sets the direction of travel

The UK Government released details of its pathway for reaching net zero by 2050 in its 10 Point Plan. But what does this mean for the energy sector?

Steve Scrimshaw, Vice President, Siemens UK&I sets out his thoughts.

"Hydrogen, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and offshore wind are three key policies at the heart of the Government’s long awaited 10 Point Plan, which sets the pathway for reaching net zero by 2050 and create green jobs.

 

Meeting these targets, while also making sure there is enough energy to power the economy is a key challenge for policymakers and industry. There isn’t a silver bullet, and I’m pleased to see several different technologies will be used in the coming decades. Each has a role to play to decarbonise our energy supplies, industry, and transport.

Technology to capture and store carbon created in industrial processes received extra funding as well as a commitment for four industrial clusters to be created by 2030. After a few false starts with this industry, I’m delighted to see action. The UK is still an industrial powerhouse, relying on many carbon emitting industries like steel production or the chemical industry to generate business on and offshore.

 

Without CCS technology we will struggle to reduce emissions in the medium to long term. Gas-fired power stations aren’t something which can be turned off overnight and through the deployment of CCS, the emissions can be captured and sequestered.  CCS can also be used to create blue hydrogen from natural gas.

 

Siemens Energy is working to make its turbines capable of running on hydrogen. Blue and green hydrogen will play a key role in this Government’s vision for how to get to net zero and today’s commitment to develop hydrogen neighbourhoods will help to provide a market for hydrogen fuel. The commitment for 5GW of hydrogen by 2030 will set the UK on an up-scaling path to full hydrogen capacity, resulting in decarbonisation by 2050.

 

The Committee on Climate Change has said that hydrogen is difference between reducing emissions by 80% and reaching the lauded net zero target. As a fuel, hydrogen has a critical role to play in decarbonising heat, power and transport as well as industry, and is vital to help us reach net zero across many parts of the economy. Green hydrogen – made from separating water into its component parts of oxygen and hydrogen using an electrolyser - can start small and achieve scale by rapid growth.

 

That speed and scale is important because recent modelling by Aurora Energy Research predicts that, by 2050, just under half of the UK’s energy supply will come from hydrogen, which is up to 480TWh of hydrogen.

 

We only have 30 years to make enormous changes. This transition won’t happen overnight, but I am confident we are on the right path."