Energy Security - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:57 pm on 5 December 2022.

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Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 7:57, 5 December 2022

We are looking at a lot of ways of supporting the steel sector—we think that it is a very important sector in the UK. I would question the noble Baroness’s figures. If we wanted to produce steel completely with hydrogen, it would require enormous investment. I know that a number of interesting research projects are going on, but I do not think that they are particularly well established in other countries yet either. However, there are exciting prospects, and we should do all we can to support them.

I agree with the noble Baroness that one way of using so-called excess power from the likes of wind farms that produce lots of power perhaps at times when it cannot be used will potentially be in producing hydrogen. However, hydrogen is a relatively inefficient way of storing power; it is much more effective if we can use the power when it is produced. If we use a unit of electricity to produce hydrogen and then, for instance, use it for heating, we lose 60% of the energy value of that unit of electricity in converting and storing hydrogen. It is a very difficult gas to compress, to transport, to store, and then to use. It is not necessarily an efficient way, but it could be a way of storing excess electricity production if it cannot be used—that gets us back into the question that we discussed earlier of expanding the grid et cetera.

There are lots of solutions and lots of potential technologies that we could use. As I said, our strategy is to explore as many of them as possible so that we are not putting all our eggs in one basket. We have a diverse energy mix; it will take many years to roll out, but that in my view is the future of energy supply in this country.

Sitting suspended.