Wales should be at the forefront of hydrogen energy

(Title Image: © Copyright Jaggery and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence BY-SA-2.0)

The Motion

The Senedd:

  • Notes the need to reduce our carbon footprint and notes the potential of hydrogen to help us decarbonise.
  • Welcomes the establishment of the Wales Hydrogen Trade Association.
  • Notes that Wales has the opportunity to join the pioneers in moving hydrogen forward rapidly for environmental, health and economic benefits.
  • Acknowledges the study already underway to use Anglesey as a pilot area for hydrogen schemes, as well as schemes underway in several other areas of Wales.
  • Calls on the Welsh Government to produce a Welsh hydrogen strategy.

Hydrogen has huge potential in the fight against climate change

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM (Plaid, Ynys Môn) – whilst long championing electric vehicles – said hydrogen was showing great potential too and shouldn’t be ignored. It’s seen as particularly desirable in terms of commercial transport (air, rail, heavy goods etc.) but there are smaller examples – such as a hydrogen bike he tried out yesterday.

Hydrogen has a particularly promising potential on Anglesey:

“Just imagine the scope for using excess marine and wind renewable energy generated around Ynys Môn at night, say, to produce hydrogen in a plant in the north of the island, where we need jobs, and using that to power road vehicles, trains and, yes, ships to and from Ynys Môn. Imagine then the potential of using the old Shell crude oil pipeline running from the north of the island directly to the north-west of England, creating a new, environmentally innovative export industry, exporting hydrogen.”
– Rhun ap Iorwerth AM

Shadow Environment Minister, Andrew RT Davies AM (Con, South Wales Central), cited figures that estimate clean energy could be worth up to £170billion to the UK economy by 2030. He called for close working with universities to make sure research into hydrogen power was properly linked with the practical applications.

Llyr Gruffydd AM (Plaid, North Wales) thought hydrogen showed the greatest potential for decarbonising public sector vehicle fleets. The Welsh Government should invest in companies, like Llandrindod Wells-based Riversimple – with the same enthusiasm and their investment in the combustion-based automotive sector.

David Rees AM (Lab, Aberavon) said hydrogen energy could massively decrease the amount of pollution generated by heavy industry:

Potential there, but Wales can’t scale it up alone

Environment, Energy & Rural Affairs Minister, Lesley Griffiths (Lab, Wrexham), said there was no single solution to decarbonisation, but low carbon gases are part of that. There was a lot of work the Welsh Government was supporting – particularly FLEXIS, which is looking at domestic use of hydrogen.

Scaling it up wasn’t something Wales can do by ourselves.

“I hope the enthusiasm of the Tory Members today will translate into real commitment by their Westminster colleagues to provide the additional funding needed to help renewable technologies become truly price competitive. There are many major energy announcements from the UK Government that are long overdue and I hope that….they will make it clear not just how they will support the development of these technologies but, where the responsibilities are non-devolved, how they will support the development of these technologies here in Wales.”
– Environment, Energy & Rural Affairs Minister, Lesley Griffiths

Vote

Given the names of Labour AMs who voted against – Lee Waters, Julie Morgan, Jenny Rathbone and Jane Hutt – I’m assuming they don’t think hydrogen is the way forward as producing it is, in itself, fairly energy-intensive. I wouldn’t interpret this as them wanting to see the world burn all of a sudden.

Neil Hamilton, however….


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