UK Energy Secretary casts doubt on hydrogen for home heating

Grant Shapps has expressed skepticism about using hydrogen for home heating and suggested that the proposed hydrogen levy on household bills may be abandoned

The government has clarified that hydrogen will not replace natural gas for residential heating due to potential major disruptions.

Energy Secretary Grant Shapps has emphasised the significant challenges associated with transitioning to low carbon hydrogen for the gas grid, suggesting it would be too slow to achieve the country’s net zero objectives.

Shapps explained, “There was a time when people thought you just have something that looks like a gas boiler and we’ll feed hydrogen into it.”

However, he highlighted the limitations, stating, “The problem with that is the hydrogen molecules are very small. You have to replace potentially quite a lot of piping.”

In recent months, the government faced opposition from residents, leading to the discontinuation of hydrogen neighbourhood trials in Whitby, Cheshire.

Despite this setback, the proposed trials in Redcar, Teesside, continue to receive government support and a final decision regarding hydrogen’s use in home heating is expected by 2026.

Shapps acknowledged that hydrogen could play a smaller role in the energy mix, remarking, “I don’t believe in telling people ‘Right, we’re just coming in to rip out your boiler to replace it with this other thing that you don’t want.’ It’s not helpful.”

Shapps outlined the potential of hydrogen as an energy storage medium, stating, “I think hydrogen will be used for storing energy. We won’t have to switch off wind farms at night when you don’t need the power because you can turn it into hydrogen and then use it later.”

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