UK Hydrogen Economy

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 3:50 pm on 17th December 2020.

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Photo of John Spellar John Spellar Labour, Warley 3:50 pm, 17th December 2020

Indeed. I was not being dismissive of wind farms; I was talking about the institutional barriers. That is not a technical barrier; it is an institutional barrier. It is the same with nuclear. The problem is that in order to qualify for the renewable transport fuel obligation that was mentioned by the hon. Member for Rother Valley, new capacity has to be utilised. We have existing capacity, even though it is not needed. At the same time, we are paying the wind farm or nuclear operators, and that is acting as a barrier to producing cheaper hydrogen. These are the sorts of areas where Ministers, with the support of Parliament, need to be cutting through. We obviously also need to look at the question of energy storage—hydrogen is an effective form of energy storage—but we need to do a proper evaluation.

I am mindful of the constraints on time. I am slightly concerned about the Government’s announcements, because I would like to see a bit more cost accounting. I would like to see a proper analysis of how much each different system is costing. I am not saying that we should not have a subsidy at a certain stage. I would like to see it being a diminishing subsidy, because we have to exercise that rather than all having our pet theories and ideas, important as they are for driving the process. We need to make sure that this is affordable going forward. If we are to compete in an international market, that is where it will really be tested—whether something is affordable or not. I shall yield to the Chair and conclude my remarks.