Hydrogen Sector

Business, Energy and Industrial strategy – in the House of Commons on 22nd February 2022.

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Photo of Jane Hunt Jane Hunt Conservative, Loughborough

What steps he is taking to support the growth of the hydrogen sector in the UK.

Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Conservative, East Worthing and Shoreham

What steps he is taking to support the growth of the hydrogen sector in the UK

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

We are delivering on the hydrogen strategy that was published last August and will soon launch our £240 million net zero hydrogen fund and the first £100 million allocation round for electrolytic hydrogen projects and publish our sector development action plan.

Photo of Jane Hunt Jane Hunt Conservative, Loughborough

Intelligent Energy in Loughborough is keen to build a hydrogen fuel cell gigafactory, hopefully in the east midlands freeport. How will my right hon. Friend help to promote hydrogen fuel cell technology and production in the UK so that we can lead the world in that technology, harness green jobs and growth and avoid having to play catch-up?

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

I thank my hon. Friend; it is always brilliant to get a question about that great hub of innovation and science in Loughborough, and it is brilliant to hear about Intelligent Energy’s plans to build a hydrogen fuel cell gigafactory in the east midlands. That is the kind of investment that will support highly skilled jobs in the UK’s nascent hydrogen economy and the Government’s levelling-up agenda. The Government provide support for fuel cells through various funds, including the Advanced Propulsion Centre and the automotive transformation fund, which have already committed over £38 million to 16 projects with a total value of almost £85 million.

Photo of Jamie Stone Jamie Stone Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Armed Forces), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Defence), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

Onshore and offshore, my constituency has more wind turbines than I can shake a stick at. Does the Minister not agree that we should generate hydrogen where the electricity is being made? Perhaps if he came to have a look at the wind turbines in my constituency, he would get the same delicious scones that I promised the Prime Minister when he comes to see the first space launch.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that question; I think I have an existing commitment to go to his constituency. In fact, in my five months in this job, I think I have been four times to Scotland, and one of those visits was to the Whitelee wind farm, just south of Glasgow, to look at precisely what he mentioned . It is the UK’s largest onshore wind farm, which generates extra energy to produce hydrogen on-site, which will hopefully power Glasgow’s buses and dustcart fleet for years to come.

Photo of Ian Paisley Jnr Ian Paisley Jnr Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport)

Does the Minister believe that the best way to stimulate the UK hydrogen strategy is to build hydrogen products that the public ultimately use, such as buses, trains and heavy goods vehicles? Will he commit to joining that up to the Department for Transport and encouraging it to get on with hydrogen bus development that will stimulate the entire economy?

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

The hon. Gentleman and I know that Northern Ireland has an incredible capability and tradition in bus making. He is absolutely right that hydrogen-powered buses have a big future. I mentioned Glasgow City Council’s commitment to move to hydrogen buses, thanks to the Whitelee wind farm; I imagine that we will want to do something similar in Northern Ireland. I look forward to further engagement with the Northern Ireland Executive on the topic.