“Hydrogen City” project canceled after protests against forced abandonment of natural gas

However, ministers were forced to rethink their decision following a wave of protests in two small communities – Redcar in Yorkshire and Whitby, near Ellesmere Port – which had been designated as ‘test villages of the ‘hydrogen’. The two proposed tests were ultimately abandoned.

Energy Efficiency Minister Lord Martin Callanan said on Thursday: “We have decided not to progress work on a hydrogen city pilot until 2026, following decisions on the role of hydrogen for the heating.

“Heat pumps and heat networks will be the main way to reduce household emissions in the near future. »

The move undermines the government’s ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution, launched by then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2020, and its UK Hydrogen Strategy for 2021, published by the Secretary of State. energy of the time, Kwasi Kwarteng.

These plans called for a neighborhood-level hydrogen heating system by 2023, a village-wide trial by 2025, and an entire town would be converted to hydrogen by the end of the years 2020. None of this will happen now.

Several studies have criticized the plan, saying hydrogen would only have a small role to play in heating homes and other buildings in the future.

Last year, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) recommended that the government not support the rollout of hydrogen heating.

Hydrogen would have to be produced from natural gas – an emissions-producing process – and would cost more than heat pumps, the main alternative.

Next week, the NIC’s annual report on the government’s progress on major infrastructure projects is expected to once again criticize the use of hydrogen for heating.

Responding to the announcement, Juliet Phillips, of climate policy think tank E3G, said: “Widespread use of hydrogen for heating is a hugely expensive and inefficient way to reach net zero targets. , which could exacerbate energy poverty.

“This decision clearly shows that all attention and investment must be focused on readily available clean heat solutions, such as heat pumps and district heating networks. »