Government’s clean hydrogen ambitions welcomed by NI industry

‘We support the Department’s commitment to make Northern Ireland a world-leader for the hydrogen economy’

By Claire Cartmill
Thursday, 19th May 2022, 2:00 pm

Hydrogen NI, the industry group that represents the voice of the clean hydrogen sector in Northern Ireland, has welcomed the Department for the Economy’s renewed commitment to growing a thriving clean hydrogen economy here in the region.

The Department’s ambitions were set out during a webinar event hosted by Hydrogen NI, at which at which Edward Kerr of DfE’s hydrogen and advanced technologies team was the guest speaker.

This included discussion on the strategic role which clean hydrogen will play in Northern Ireland’s energy transition, and was followed by a Q&A with key industry members.

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Edward Kerr, Department for the Economy’s Hydrogen and Advanced Technologies branch and Hydrogen NI chairperson John Palmer

Northern Ireland’s ambitious new energy strategy was published in December 2021 and set out the path to a net-zero future. For the Department, growing the green hydrogen economy will be a key part of that policy. Fortunately, Northern Ireland is ideally suited to develop a thriving hydrogen economy with its high levels of wind energy, a modern hydrogen-compatible gas network, natural storage facilities and a world-leading engineering sector.

Edward Kerr, Department for the Economy, said: “The Economy Minister, Gordon Lyons, launched The Path to Net Zero in December 2021 and its associated 22-point Action Plan in January 2022, setting out how the strategy will create jobs and lead to more affordable energy. Hydrogen will play a key role, with a hydrogen centre of excellence to be established that will nurture the innovation that will be needed to unlock the full potential of this exciting emerging energy sector.”

Hydrogen NI chairperson John Palmer, partner and energy specialist, Shoosmiths LLP, who chaired the webinar event, explained: “We are delighted that Mr Kerr joined our discussion today and continued the collaborative and positive dialogue we have had with the Department for the Economy since the group’s launch in May 2021.

“Hydrogen NI welcomed the publication of the Executive’s Energy Strategy, which recognised not only the significant environmental benefits, but also, the substantial inward investment opportunities that a thriving clean hydrogen economy offers Northern Ireland. We support the Department’s commitment to make Northern Ireland a world-leader for the hydrogen economy and believe this presents a major opportunity for sustainable job creation, which can underpin future green growth.

“A clean, home-grown energy supply will boost our energy security by replacing expensive imported fuels and allow us to make the most of our market-leading levels of renewable generation. Hydrogen NI and the Department are aligned in their thinking, as we both see growing the green hydrogen economy as a means to tackle climate change and our current energy crisis.

“We look forward to continued work with the Department to address important challenges facing the industry and to develop the right kind of regulatory and policy framework which can facilitate Northern Ireland’s future hydrogen economy.”