The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) has launched a consultation on legislative proposals for offshore hydrogen pipelines and storage.
The UK, which already boasts a mature offshore regulatory system for other offshore energy activities, wishes to explore the potential incorporation of offshore hydrogen to enable “first of a kind” offshore hydrogen projects. This will be achieved via amendments to the existing system of offshore pipeline and gas storage regulation.
The consultation will involve all parties involved in the offshore hydrogen economy within the UK including investors, hydrogen producers and consumers, academics, and more. The consultation closes at 23:45 on 22 May 2023.
In 2022, the government increased its hydrogen production target for 2030 to include 10GW, with 5GW coming from green hydrogen. This was released as part of the Energy Security Strategy in early 2022.
DESNZ’s proposals look to “extend offshore oil and gas pipeline construction and use consenting responsibility of the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) to also apply to hydrogen pipelines,” the report outlined. It also proposes to “extend certain environmental and decommissioning regulations to apply to relevant hydrogen activities in addition to granting the NSTA powers to issue hydrogen storage licenses.”
The UK Government has been supporting the introduction of hydrogen into the energy fold as a means to support decarbonisation and take a leading role in the lucrative global hydrogen market. This is reflected within the consultation paper which suggests “250-460TWh of hydrogen could be needed in 2050, making up 20-35% of the UK’s final energy consumption.”
This is the latest in a series of developments aiming to support the UK’s budding hydrogen economy. The government recently revealed its plan to introduce a new certification to provide “reliable” hydrogen tracing.
The new certification is set to be launched by 2025 and will be moulded via consultation with the industry. It is hoped this will allow companies to source accurate, low carbon hydrogen as the UK looks to decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors.
Mollie McCorkingdale, market analyst at Solar Media, recently said at Solar Media’s Green Hydrogen Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, that in 2022 the UK’s green hydrogen pipeline had grown to 1.8GW across 72 sites. Alongside this, it was claimed that the UK is well positioned to be a leader in low-carbon hydrogen production.