The UK Government announced its new strategy for energy within the UK on Wednesday 6th April, which promises an increase in both fossil fuel drilling and clean energy use. The government has put nuclear power at the centre of the strategy, as well as a drive to fully exploit hydrogen usage in the UK, with a target to double hydrogen production and see up to 1/3 of houses heated using hydrogen power by 2050.
The key points of the strategy are a focus on the following:
- Energy Efficiency
- The government has committed to a zero VAT rate until 2027 for anyone who is installing energy saving materials such as insulation and solar panels.
- Oil and Gas
- The new strategy outlines plans to increase the offshore drilling of oil and gas reserves found in the North Sea.
- Offshore Wind
- Plans to drastically decrease the time it takes to develop and install offshore windfarms were included in the strategy.
- Onshore Wind
- However, no changes to the controversial planning regulations which make building onshore windfarms incredibly challenging were made.
- The newly published UK Energy Strategy has promised to host new consultations on the planning rules currently in place which could prevent people from installing solar panels on their home.
- The strategy has outlined the government’s intent to increase the number of nuclear reactors in the UK, whilst also drastically increasing their capacity.
- The UK aims to double its current low hydrogen capacity ambition by 2030, and heat over 33% of UK homes using hydrogen power by 2050.
When discussing the new strategy, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stated that “if we’re going to get prices down, and keep them there for the long term, we need a flow of energy that is affordable, clean, and above all, secure. We need a power supply that’s made in Britain, for Britain- and that’s what this plan is all about.” Green energy alternatives to fossil fuels have long been known to be cheaper than gas, thus the more green and clean energy that can be generated and used in the UK, the less vulnerable the UK will be to global energy price increases. The strategy comes in the light of rising energy prices in the UK, after the price cap increased at the beginning of April, exacerbated by Russia invading Ukraine.
Hydrogen is a key resource that the UK will hope to exploit more when it comes to generating power on its journey towards reaching carbon net zero. When ‘green’ hydrogen is used rather than ‘blue’ hydrogen, hydrogen power emits zero carbon emissions. Further, hydrogen is an incredibly abundant element, thus the risk of depleting the source, as is present with fossil fuels, is non-existent. Hydrogen can also be a more efficient source of power than other sources of energy and investing in hydrogen now will decrease the reliance the UK has on fossil fuels, helping the UK reach the goals of the recent COP26 conference, and the Paris Agreement.
Orbital Fabrications is an industry specialist in the field of providing high purity stainless steel process pipework services, manifolds, and control systems for high pressure hydrogen management, thus Orbital is well equipped to handle the increased global demand for alternative energy, specifically hydrogen. Our experience in designing, manufacturing, and installing bespoke hydrogen fuel systems is perfectly suited to address the technical demands of managing high pressure hydrogen, safely and securely. High pressure testing to 1000 bar and higher is also available, along with full 3.1 material certification. For high purity applications, all fabrication, assembly, and testing is conducted within our class 5 and class 6 cleanroom facilities. Additionally, Orbital Fabrications’ autogenous TIG welding process fully penetrates the thick walled tubing necessary for carrying high pressure hydrogen, providing a clean secure joint that’s immune to vibration and ambient thermal changes. Our support services include comprehensive in-house design, through to test and validation, including in-house helium mass spectrometry for leak detection. Orbital’s experience within the nuclear, oil and gas, and hydrogen industries ensures that we completely understand the documentation requirements to support and validate your high pressure hydrogen handling systems. Contact Orbital Fabrications today to discuss your process piping systems, and how our high purity welding capabilities can benefit your business.