Households and businesses will benefit from £90m to cut carbon emissions in industry and homes, energy minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, has announced.
£70m will include funding for two of Europe’s first ever low carbon hydrogen production plants - the first on the banks of the Mersey, the second planned for near Aberdeen. A third project will develop technology to harness offshore wind off the Grimsby coast to power electrolysis and produce hydrogen.
Hydrogen is a low or zero emission alternative to fossil fuels which could power future industry and transport. The investment will also fund projects to trial cutting-edge technologies for switching industrial production from fossil fuels to renewables in industries such as cement and glass production.
The remaining £20m will be used to fund projects aimed at cutting household emissions and bills through nine UK-wide local ‘smart energy’ projects. Over 250,000 people could have their homes powered by local renewable sources by 2030 – which could lead to their energy bills reducing by as much as half, thanks to this government funding.
If successful, the ten community pilot projects from Rugeley near Stafford to Coleraine in Northern Ireland could revolutionise local energy generation – allowing local communities to join the frontline in the fight against climate change.
In Rugeley, a coal fired power station is to be demolished and turned into a sustainable village of 2,300 homes. Residents will benefit from thermal storage units instead of traditional gas boilers, enabling them to draw, store and heat their homes with geothermal energy from local canals and disused mine shafts.
In Coleraine, a microgrid of nearly 100 homes will be established, powered entirely by local wind power. It will help lower household electricity bills by as much as 50 per cent and boost the contribution of renewables to the local energy mix by a quarter.
Kwarteng said: “Cleaning up emissions from industry and housing is a big challenge but today’s £90m investment will set us on the right path as we develop clean technologies like hydrogen.
"This is an important part of our world-leading efforts in eliminating our contribution to climate change by 2050 while also growing our economy, creating up to two million green collar jobs across the country by 2030.
"This investment in low carbon innovation will be crucial to help us end our contribution to climate change by 2050.”