UK’s hydrogen fuel leadership ambitions are falling behind Europe

UK’s hydrogen fuel leadership ambitions are falling behind Europe

October 11, 2023 0 By Alicia Moore

The country was hoping to lead the way worldwide by 2030 but isn’t keeping up with European rivals.

Two years ago, the United Kingdom established a goal of becoming the “global leader on hydrogen” fuel by the year 2030. However, in the short amount of time since that goal was set, it is already appearing to fall behind rivals in Europe.

The country is falling short of its H2 goals while its rivals are climbing ahead at a faster rate.

The UK set a 10-gigawatt hydrogen fuel target that would make it one of the leading hydrogen fuel producers in Europe by the close of the decade. However, what has happened since has included a failure to clearly define subsidies, meaning that projects that were expected to have accelerated the country toward its goals are failing to achieve the financial approval they require.

That said, in Europe, Germany has earmarked €50 billion to provide the industry with support in transitioning toward H2. Moreover, the Netherlands has started work in retrofitting a pipeline network from the Port of Rotterdam through to the industrial heartland of Germany.

As a result of these and other barriers, the UK is falling behind in its progress while Germany and the Netherlands have both surpassed it in the hydrogen fuel development race. This, according to the industry body Energy Networks Association. That organization has ranked the UK in eighth place from having been in second place in 2021. It pointed to “missed opportunities” and uncertainty regarding funding and policies as the culprits behind the UK’s fall in the ranks.

This UK hydrogen fuel development trend has caused substantial frustration among investors.

Beyond investor and business leader frustrations, the UK’s intentions to achieve net zero by 2050 have also been called into question. Further to this, some are also investigating the environmental credentials of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Hydrogen fuel - UK Net Zero Target called into question

Since the start of September, both the UK’s target and Sunak’s credentials have been hard hit after Sunak caused notable controversy by delaying certain steps required for net-zero, causing the offshore wind energy sector to experience an unfortunate setback, knocking down the country and the sector’s global leadership positions.

Challenges with execution

hydrogen news ebookWhile the UK was among the first to see the potential to build a hydrogen fuel market, and the value of leading Europe in H2 production volume by 2030, it has been struggling to execute these intentions.

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