Britain’s proposed hydrogen village likely to be in Redcar

Britain’s proposed hydrogen village likely to be in Redcar
Image: NGN

GB gas company Cadent has indicated the government Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has informed that its proposal for the hydrogen village trial is not the preferred one.

In a statement Cadent has said this means that the government is likely to progress the trial in Redcar, which is on the Yorkshire coast in Britain’s northeast, rather than in Whitby in Ellesmere Port on the Cheshire coast in the northwest.

“We know that this will be disappointing to the many residents who told us they wanted their community to play a pioneering role in decarbonising how we heat our homes in the UK,” the statement continues.

“We are incredibly grateful to everyone in Whitby who has given us their time and attention over the last year as we have developed our proposal.”

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Cadent said further that it believes strongly in the role that hydrogen can play alongside other technologies and energy sources in reaching net zero and the information that has been gained will still play an invaluable role in shaping how the UK heats its homes and businesses in the future.

Explaining the decision Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance Lord Callanan said on twitter: “After listening to the views of residents, it’s clear that there is no strong local support, therefore Whitby will no longer be considered as the location for the UK’s first hydrogen village trial”.

Cadent and British Gas on the one side and Northern Gas Networks on the other have been vying to site the proposed hydrogen village trial after their respective proposals were given government support for further development in May 2022.

The aim for the trial is to involve up to 2,000 homes fitted with natural gas appliances replaced with hydrogen ready units to investigate the feasibility, costs and benefits of transitioning the gas system to hydrogen.

Press reports have indicated that Whitby residents were concerned about issues such as safety and costs with a switch off of natural gas for the trial and similar objections also have been reported in Redcar.

Lord Callanan said in his tweet that discussions with Northern Gas Networks re Redcar are ongoing and the next steps will be announced shortly.

While consumers have their concerns about hydrogen, its future role in the energy system is also dividing the sector with differences on issues such as its costs and carbon emission benefits, its introduction with blending and whether its use should be focussed primarily on decarbonising industry.

Earlier this month in Britain the Green Hydrogen Alliance was established as an independent business group by the companies Airbus, Air Products, Associated British Ports, London City Airport, Tata Steel and World Kinect to promote “the significant potential of green hydrogen to deliver economic, decarbonisation and energy security benefits across the UK” and intends to press for an accelerated path to a green hydrogen market.