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Call for “big punt” on hydrogen to free the UK from Russian gas

Mike Foster, chief executive of the trade body Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA), has called upon the Prime Minister to free the UK from Russian gas by bringing forward the announcement to convert the UK’s world-leading gas networks from natural gas to hydrogen.

Mike Foster, chief executive of the EUA

The Government had previously stated this decision would take place in 2026, but given the international crisis around Ukraine, Mr Foster believes such an announcement now would send a clear signal to Russian president Vladimir Putin that the UK is moving away from natural gas.

Previously, the Prime Minister had said the Government were ready to take “a big punt” on hydrogen.

Mr Foster also welcomed the comments made by the Prime Minister at Question Time last week. When asked about setting more ambitious targets for hydrogen production, Boris Johnson said, “That’s exactly what we should be doing.”

Mr Foster said: “The only way to stop bullies like Putin, using his natural gas sales to fund his military is to stop buying his gas. Bringing forward the announcement about converting the gas network to hydrogen is something the Prime Minister can do tomorrow.”

“Europe is waking up to a hydrogen future as a way of dealing with Putin’s terror. We should signal that is our intention too. British industry will respond positively to such news and it will be another nail in Putin’s gas stranglehold. British manufacturers are ready to respond, the UK’s world-leading gas networks are ready too. The Prime Minister just needs to get on with it.”

“Green hydrogen is the long-term future the world is banking on. Its production is not limited to gas reserves under the feet of a select few countries, not all of them friendly, but its supply will come from countries with an abundance of wind or sun. The UK is one of those countries. Many friendly nations also have wind, sun or both.”

“We can become more energy independent and interdependent with green hydrogen, so the sooner we make the announcement to convert our gas networks, the better off we will be and the safer or world will be too.”

7 March 2022

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