The need for hydrogen to meet the UK’s zero-carbon target does not justify the expansion of the onshore oil and gas industry.
Some oil and gas companies are making the case that by providing gas which could be used to produce hydrogen they are part of the transition to zero-carbon. For example, Stephen Sanderson, CEO of UK Oil & Gas told Surrey County Council’s Planning Committee in June 2020: “We believe that well-regulated and safely produced indigenous gas, such as Loxley [Dunsfold], represents a vital opportunity to help meet net zero targets by providing the most cost effective solution for the future UK production of clean hydrogen fuel”.
Now the Weald Action Group has published a briefing which shows that there is no need for fossil fuels to produce this clean-burning fuel.
Our briefing argues that:
- Some sectors of the economy will be difficult to decarbonise and using hydrogen as a clean fuel is one possible option.
- The production of hydrogen from gas or coal produces large amounts of polluting emissions and contributes to climate change.
- Progress towards developing commercial-scale carbon capture and storage has been very slow and there are serious doubts it will be a viable option for mitigating emissions from fossil fuel hydrogen production in the next few decades.
- Hydrogen produced from renewable electricity has very low CO2 emissions and costs are falling rapidly.
- As renewable electricity will be needed in many sectors, it is important that hydrogen produced this way is reserved for those sectors where there is no alternative.
- The need for hydrogen in a zero-carbon economy cannot be used
to justify an expansion of onshore fossil fuel production.
Ann Stewart, one of the report’s authors, said: “Hydrogen is likely to be a key piece of the jigsaw for decarbonising energy-intensive sectors such as steel and chemicals and for HGV transport, aviation and shipping – but only if it is produced from sustainable, renewable energy sources.
“Instead of using yet more fossil fuels with their devastating impact on the climate, hydrogen can be made from water with very low emissions. There is absolutely no justification for producing more fossil gas, in the Weald or elsewhere.”
Download the briefing here:
This briefing from the Weald Action Group shows that the need for hydrogen to meet the UK’s zero-carbon target does not justify the expansion of the onshore oil and gas industry.