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Northern Gas Networks (NGN) joined its fellow UK gas distributers to support the launch of an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hydrogen which held its first AGM today (Tuesday 3rd July).

Chaired by Redcar MP Anna Turley, the cross-party group of MPs and Peers has been created to focus on raising awareness and building support for large scale hydrogen projects, enabling the UK to meet its tough 2050 decarbonisation targets.

Shadow Energy Minister Alan Whitehead attended the event, which has also received the backing of Minister for Energy and Clean Growth Claire Perry MP.

Rt Hon Claire Perry MP, Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, has welcomed the establishment of the APPG on Hydrogen. She said:

“Hydrogen shows huge potential as a vector in a clean, safe, flexible, future energy system; which is why we’re investing over £60m in hydrogen projects as part of our modern industrial strategy. The creation of this group shows the increasing excitement around hydrogen and the role it can play in meeting the Clean Growth Grand Challenge.”

Alan Whitehead, Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change, said: “We strongly welcome this new APPG.

“We expect hydrogen technology to play a key role in clean heavy transport and cutting emissions in the heating sector.”

The ultimate clean gas, hydrogen is zero carbon at the point of use, producing just heat and water when burned.

NGN, the gas distributer for the North of England, Northern Cumbria and much of Yorkshire, is leading industry projects examining hydrogen for use in the gas network.

Its pioneering H21 Leeds City Gate project used the city of Leeds as a blueprint to prove that conversion of the UK gas networks from natural gas to hydrogen was technically possible and could be delivered at a reasonable cost in order to decarbonise UK heat.

The H21 programme has now expanded into a joint-network project supported by £9 million on Ofgem innovation funding, focused on delivering the essential safety evidence required for a conversion of the gas grid to carry 100% hydrogen.

This work is mirrored by the government’s own £25 million ‘Hy4Heat’ programme, designed to examine hydrogen for use in buildings and create a stimulus for appliance manufacturers.

Hydrogen’s role in the UK’s future energy mix continues to gain government interest, the green gas named as one of three plausible pathways to decarbonisation in 2017’s Clean Growth Strategy.

As well as gaining the support of the Energy and Utilities Alliance, the creation of the APPG has also received the backing of UNISON and the GMB. Both trade unions support the development of large scale hydrogen projects due to their ability to create and sustain thousands of jobs.

Mark Horsley, CEO of Northern Gas Networks said: “This APPG has an important role to play in raising parliamentary awareness of large-scale hydrogen projects, and we’re delighted to support the group’s launch today.

“Hydrogen can make up a crucial part of the UK’s future energy mix, and greater understanding by MPs of that role, and hydrogen’s huge potential for job creation and delivering cleaner, greener energy to customers, is essential in strengthening its development as we look towards 2050.”

Anna Turley, Labour MP for Redcar and a member of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee said a conversion to hydrogen would be valuable for her constituency, as well the UK.

She continued: “The Tees Valley area strongly supports the development of large scale hydrogen projects, as we already produce 50% of all hydrogen produced in the UK. 

“I’m excited about the potential of hydrogen to enable the country to significantly decrease our carbon emissions, create lots of good long-term job opportunities and position the UK as a global leader in green technology. 

“This group will work to raise awareness of the latest research and innovations in hydrogen technology, and work constructively with central government, local authorities and industry to support its development.” 

For further information about the APPG or NGN’s Energy Futures projects please contact NGN’s Press Office team on 0113 322 7950 or email: communications@northerngas.co.uk

Anyone that smells gas or suspects carbon monoxide should call the National Gas Emergency Service immediately on 0800 111 999. This line is in operation 24-hours a day, seven days a week.