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Hydrogen is essential for the UK to achieve Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions. It was outlined as a breakthrough technology at last month’s COP26 climate summit, and our mission is now to progress from trials and deliver hydrogen at scale for industry, businesses and homes.

That’s why it was so important to launch the East Coast Hydrogen feasibility report earlier this week at the House of Commons, with Energy Minister Greg Hands MP and around 100 industry stakeholders, including producers and end users.

East Coast Hydrogen is a collaboration between Northern Gas Networks, Cadent and National Grid Gas Transmission, an ambitious but realistic programme which has the potential to connect over 7GW of hydrogen production by 2030. On its own, this would exceed the Government’s 5GW by 2030 target in a single region.

It represents an unmissable opportunity for government and the private sector to work together in delivering on our ambitious decarbonisation targets: over a 15-year timescale, it would see up to 39,000 businesses and over 4 million homes converted to hydrogen.

The programme will benefit from the natural assets of the North of England, including existing and potential hydrogen storage facilities, and build on the hydrogen production in two of the UK’s largest industrial clusters in the North East and North West, in turn ensuring significant private sector investment in the UK’s industrial heartlands.

It will be the first major step in the conversion of our national gas networks to hydrogen and will act as a blueprint for subsequent conversions across the UK. The project will also demonstrate the innovation, engineering capabilities and economic opportunity in the North, and create tens of thousands of highly skilled Green jobs in the future hydrogen economy.

East Coast Hydrogen will be an endeavour with historical significance in the way that it could open up new ways of providing heat, power, transport fuel and meeting the needs of industry. We are excited about our role in the net zero future, while still ensuring the continued dependability of natural gas to support Britain through the energy transition.