UK Boosts Hydrogen, EVs and CCS With New 10-Point Net-Zero Plan

The U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed a ten-point
plan to set the country�on its way toward its 2050 net-zero plan,
with an accelerated EV roll-out and a new hydrogen target the
stand-out pledges.

While short on detail, the plan includes between £4 billion
($5.3 billion) and £12 billion ($15.9 billion) of new public
funding to help decarbonize the nation. Johnson’s Conservative
Party states that the higher figure is the accurate tally of new
funding involved, while the opposition Labour Party argues that
two-thirds of that figure is funding that’s already been
allocated.

A new 5-gigawatt “low carbon†hydrogen target for 2030 has
been revealed, along with an ambition to heat an entire town with
hydrogen by the end of the decade. Two carbon capture and storage
(CCS) clusters will be supported with an additional £200 million
of support by the middle of this decade with another two following
by 2030. A pledge of £800 million is already in place.

Plans are being developed around several of the U.K.’s
industrial clusters such as
Humberside
and Merseyside. The government is expected to choose
which two clusters to support first before the end of the
year. 

“What’s hugely exciting about the announcements on CCS is
the doubling of ambition,” said David Parkin of the developer
Progressive Energy. “Up until this point the government talked
about two clusters, one by 2025 and one by 2030. Now they’re
saying four,†he told GTM in an interview.

Parkin is the project director of the HyNet cluster in
Merseyside, which proposes an integrated network of CCS and
hydrogen infrastructure. He expects blue hydrogen made from natural
gas via steam reforming to meet around 80 percent of the 5 GW
target, with HyNet alone planning for 3.5 GW of blue hydrogen
capacity by 2030. Its first hydrogen production at the site will be
a 350 MW installment.

In terms of the funding, Parkin said the £200 million can help
de-risk projects for private investors. The private investment will
come if the revenue mechanism is right. Details on how that will be
structured are still in the works.

Electric vehicles get turbo-charged

The new plan sets an earlier 2030 target for the phase-out of
sales of new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, up from a
previous target of 2040. Hybrid vehicles get a reprieve until
2035.

A £1.3 billion fund has been established to back EV charging
infrastructure, including residential, on-street and throughout the
network of motorways. Grant funding of £582 million will be
available for those buying zero or ultra-low emission vehicles. It
was not immediately clear if this is all additional to the pot for
the existing grant scheme. Grants of up to £3,500 per new vehicle
are already available.

The full plan is:

  1. The already announced offshore wind target of
    40 GW by 2030
    . The current installed capacity is 10 GW.
  2. The hydrogen plans described above.

  3. Nuclear power
    will receive £525 million for the development of
    large and small-scale reactors. There was no update on the proposed
    new funding model for new gigawatt-scale plants.
  4. The electric vehicle support described above, plus £500
    million ($663 million) for the development of a domestic battery
    manufacturing industry.
  5. Promoting walking, cycling and public transport with £5
    billion ($6.6 billion) of investment, previously announced.
  6. “Jet Zero†efforts to cut aviation sector emissions, as
    well as greener maritime emissions. Neither sector is covered by
    the Paris Agreement. The U.K. is backing early-stage investment in
    maritime with a £20 million innovation competition.
  7. Energy efficiency in homes and public buildings. £1 billion
    ($1.3 billion) to be spent on more efficient new homes and
    improving energy efficiency in state schools and hospitals. An
    existing Green Voucher program covering two-thirds of the cost of
    homeowners’ efficiency improvements is extended by one year. A
    new target to install 600,000 heat pumps was also revealed.
  8. Carbon capture target to capture 10 megatons of carbon dioxide
    by 2030.
  9. Planting 30,000 hectares of new trees and establishing
    additional National Parks.
  10. Establish London as a center for green finance.

Plan welcomed but time to fill the policy voids

The direction of travel in the ten-point plan has been broadly
welcomed but for many, policy details are now required.

Tom Heggarty, principal analyst, Wood Mackenzie said: “The
U.K.’s energy industry will be awaiting more detail around exactly
how the government will be willing to support the development of
emerging technologies. There have been false dawns before — see
the government canceling its £1 billion support program for CCS
back in 2015 — but these new announcements are likely to be
welcomed and provide the first signs of clarity around how the U.K.
will meet its net-zero emissions ambitions.â€

The level of policy detail is still fairly light. Professor
Rebecca Willis, of Lancaster University and an expert lead in the
U.K.’s citizen Climate
Assembly
, described the announcements as welcome “but not yet
a plan.â€

Lord Deben, Chairman of the Climate Change Committee, the
U.K.’s independent, official climate advisors, said he was
“delighted with the breadth of the Prime Minister’s
plan.â€

“This must now be turned into a detailed road map — so we
all know what’s coming down the track in the years ahead. Our
homes, the way we travel, our industries, our land, and all of us
individually have a role to play as we strive to lead the world in
tackling climate change,†he said in a statement.

U.K. to be outspent by Germany and France

The opposition Labour Party was quick to criticize the scale of
the plans, claiming that only £4 billion of the £12 billion plan
is in fact new funding. While party politics are of course very
much in play, the party’s assertion that the green recovery plan
is dwarfed by those of France and Germany would appear to hold
water.

France is spending €30 billion over the next two years on its
green recovery including €11 billion for transport and €7
billion on energy efficiency. Hydrogen is receiving €2
billion.

Germany’s stimulus package includes €2.5 billion of EV
charging infrastructure and €9 billion for hydrogen, €2 billion
of which is to back overseas hydrogen projects. It’s spending
€2 billion on decarbonizing shipping and aviation, split
50:50.

Source: FS – GreenTech Media
UK Boosts Hydrogen, EVs and CCS With New 10-Point Net-Zero
Plan