Regen was commissioned by Cornwall Council and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP to conduct a short opportunity study, identifying the potential for hydrogen as a low carbon fuel and as a driver for innovation and economic growth in the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly area, focusing on the period to 2030.

Project duration: April 2021 – July 2021

Hydrogen is set to play a critical role in enabling the UK economy to achieve net zero carbon. As well as providing a low carbon energy source for difficult to decarbonise sectors, such as heavy transport, aviation and various industrial processes, hydrogen could also play an important role in system balancing as a multi-vector fuel, using very low-cost electricity during times of over-supply to convert, store and transport renewable energy for many applications.

The opportunity assessment summarised the current UK hydrogen policy landscape, outlined current and pipeline hydrogen activity in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, and identified several sector-specific and general opportunities for hydrogen development in the region. As part of the assessment, Regen engaged several key Cornish organisations and stakeholders to gauge the scale of opportunity for hydrogen in the region generally and for specific sectors.

The report found that there are opportunities for hydrogen in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly by 2030, but they are focused on specific applications that are difficult to decarbonised through more conventional methods, including the decarbonisation of maritime vessels and heavy vehicles. Many of these opportunities will not be realised until the latter part of this decade or beyond. Hydrogen is still set to be a relatively expensive fuel, and this could be a big hurdle for many sectors. Government support combined with demand will be required to bring down the price of green hydrogen and incentivise fuel switching in carbon intensive industries.

Cornwall Hydrogen Map

 

Read the executive summary here

 

People on this project

Ray Arrell
Ray Arrell
Head of technical development
Ray leads Regen's technical development strategy, coordinating the development of the company's technical capabilities…
Mark Howard
Mark Howard
Project manager
Mark holds a bachelors degree in engineering and has over a decade of experience…
Jonathan Lamont
Jonathan Lamont
Jonathan is a new addition to Regen fulfilling the role of graduate intern aiding…
Grace Millman
Grace Millman
Energy analyst
Grace is an energy analyst at Regen delivering high quality research, analysis and energy…

Hydrogen is set to play a critical role in enabling the UK economy to achieve net zero carbon. As well as providing a low carbon energy source for difficult to decarbonise sectors, such as heavy transport, aviation and various industrial processes, hydrogen could also play an important role in system balancing as a multi-vector fuel, using very low-cost electricity during times of over-supply to convert, store and transport renewable energy for many applications.

Over the coming months Regen will be looking into the development of the global hydrogen market, specifically the government policies needed to make hydrogen-based energy solutions competitive, the strategy needed to provide investment in production and distribution infrastructure, and the wider role that hydrogen can play within a low carbon energy system.

Recent research

Regen has recently undertaken some research into hydrogen trial projects in Great Britain, as part of our work on Distribution Future Energy Scenarios. Active projects include BIGHIT in Orkney and H2ME hydrogen refuelling stations in Swindon, Beaconsfield, Aberdeen and Gatwick. These projects produce hydrogen via electrolysis, the process of splitting water using electricity; however, there are many early-stage projects focused on the production of ‘blue’ hydrogen from natural gas, combined with carbon capture and storage. These include the H21 Leeds City Gate project, the Acorn project and the Zero Carbon Humber partnership.

Hydrogen Production (3)

 

Regen director Johnny Gowdy has summarised his thinking around the hydrogen value chain in our latest hydrogen insight paper. He considers how the development of the hydrogen value chain can best be supported by targeted policy interventions and discusses why a simple Contract for Difference approach may not be appropriate for developing low carbon hydrogen markets.

 

 

Recent blogs

Grace Cornwall Hydrogen BlogOpportunities for hydrogen in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

Regen conducted a study for Cornwall Council and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP on the opportunities for hydrogen to support decarbonisation in the region by 2030, both as a low carbon fuel and as a driver for innovation and economic growth in the region. In this blog, our energy analyst Grace Millman reflects on the study and how it has helped inform our understanding of the wider role of hydrogen in a low carbon energy system. Read the blog here.

 

 

1

What role could hydrogen play in decarbonising the industrial sector?

As a new low carbon fuel source, hydrogen could be used across a broad range of applications to meet existing and future sources of energy demand. One such target area for hydrogen-based solutions is the industrial sector (including heavy industries in steel, cement, and chemicals). We explore this potential application in greater detail. Read the full blog here

 

 

Hydrogen Production (3)Hy to Hydrogen

In the UK government’s Ten Point Plan, the Prime Minister has committed to deploying 5 GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, as well as developing a pilot town powered entirely by hydrogen. This is the first time that hydrogen has held such a prominent place within government policy, but why is hydrogen considered so important to reach net zero? Grace Millman explores. Read the full blog here.

 

Podcast

In this episode of Regen’s ‘Transforming Energy’ podcast series, we hear from our in-house experts on the future of hydrogen, following on from our paper ‘Building the hydrogen value chain’.

Listen on Spotify
Listen on Apple Podcasts

 

 

Much of Regen’s wider work has featured hydrogen, including:

Data ReportNet Zero South Wales – This innovation project brought the South Wales gas and electricity distribution networks together, developing insights from an integrated approach to gas and electricity scenario planning in an increasingly flexible and cross-vector system. The Net Zero South Wales project developed a new methodology for conducting cross-vector scenario forecasting, including a ‘High Hydrogen’ future net zero scenario.

 

 

 

 

Regen Heat Paper - Front coverDecarbonisation of Heat paper – This paper investigated how the UK may decarbonise heat in buildings, including the potential use of hydrogen as a heating fuel. The paper identifies actions that are needed to be taken now to put the UK on track to achieve net zero well ahead of the government’s 2050 target, including:

  • Transforming domestic environmental levies, which account for around 21% of electricity bills, into a new fuel carbon levy.
  • Increasing the market demand for efficient, low carbon buildings through the housing market and rental sectors.

Regen director Johnny Gowdy says: “Fundamental changes are needed to ensure that consumers, tenants and building owners see value in shifting to low carbon solutions. These changes must be accompanied by measures to support those in fuel poverty and protect consumers from bill increases through greater energy efficiency and better heating solutions.

Paper co-author Mark Howard says: “Heat is a challenge, but as an engineer I also see tremendous opportunities. Our paper highlights some great examples of innovative technology, new building designs and heating solutions which bring exciting opportunities for innovation, new skills and jobs as part of the wider shift to a low carbon economy.

 

SSENSSEN DFES 2020 – Regen worked alongside Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) to undertake the 2020 edition of their Distribution Future Energy Scenarios analysis for both the North of Scotland and Southern England licence areas. This year, Regen has included detailed projections of hydrogen electrolyser capacity connecting to SSEN’s distribution network out to 2050 under a range of future energy scenarios.

 

 

If you are interested in finding out more about this work, please contact Grace Millman gmillman@regen.co.uk


Header image courtesy of https://www.cummins.com/news/releases/2020/06/23/cummins-form-joint-venture-nproxx-hydrogen-storage 

People on this project

Ray Arrell
Ray Arrell
Head of technical development
Ray leads Regen's technical development strategy, coordinating the development of the company's technical capabilities…
Mark Howard
Mark Howard
Project manager
Mark holds a bachelors degree in engineering and has over a decade of experience…
Jonathan Lamont
Jonathan Lamont
Jonathan is a new addition to Regen fulfilling the role of graduate intern aiding…
Grace Millman
Grace Millman
Energy analyst
Grace is an energy analyst at Regen delivering high quality research, analysis and energy…

Project duration: January 2020 to June 2020

The Net Zero South Wales 2050 innovation project has been undertaken as a partnership between Regen, Western Power Distribution (WPD) and Wales and West Utilities with funding from the Network Innovation Allowance programme.

This innovation project was about bringing two networks together, developing insights and value from an integrated approach to gas and electricity scenario planning and exploring an increasingly flexible and cross-vector system. It is clear that as a result of net zero the different energy vectors (power, heat and transport) will need to become more integrated, co-dependent and joined-up in their operation and long-term planning.

Regen has been working since 2015 on a Distribution Future Energy Scenarios (DFES) methodology that creates bottom-up, stakeholder led, locally relevant decarbonisation pathways for licence areas and regions. See https://www.regen.co.uk/area/distribution-future-energy-scenarios/

The main objective of the project was to develop a new methodology for conducting cross-vector scenario forecasting at a regional level, merging two pre-existing studies for gas and electricity, and to provide insights into how South Wales might transition to a net zero future under three net zero scenario pathways: High Electrification, Core Hydrogen and High Hydrogen along with a hybrid heat sensitivity.

Untitled

The outputs from the report included a dataset, a companion report and a learning report which also contained recommendations for further study.  Please contact WPD and WWU directly for access to the datasets.

Some key insights and learnings are outlined below:

Imperative of agreeing local pathways for heat decarbonisation

Carbon emissions from heat decline at different times in the different scenarios and there is a significant range in the scenarios around how electricity or hydrogen might be used for heat.

Although it is valuable to understand this range, for investment in networks and decarbonisation more certainty is needed.

This certainty is likely to come from both a clear national heat strategy coupled with local decision making. Any process would need to be thorough, transparent, and consultative, involving both gas and electricity networks. The sooner these decisions about heat pathways are made the better, for carbon and cost, for networks, people, and the whole energy system.

ASHP Under CH
The different densities of Air Source Heat Pumps in South Wales by 2050 in the Core Hydrogen scenario

Understanding how demand and generation behaviour might shift

The analysis also looked a simulated day in 2035 and 2050 to understand how the pathways might impact daily typical demand. This found that by 2050, winter day electricity demand doubles in High Electrification, though High Hydrogen has highest total energy demand across both networks.

However in conducting the simulated seasonal day modelling, we established that applying generic profiles developed in 2019 are likely not reflective of the way dispatchable or flexible sources of distributed demand and supply will operate and interact with the network in 2035 or 2050. We recommend that more work is needed to understand and model what these shifts could look like.

Interaction between distribution and transmission in net zero

The project focused on distribution level however we found that although there was increasing level of distributed supply in both gas and electricity, a significant role remained for the transmission system. For example distributed hydrogen production via electrolysis is likely to meet only a proportion of hydrogen demand. Further supply will require a strategy for large-scale hydrogen production, storage and transmission in South Wales.

Similarly electricity demand and supply variance increases in both summer and winter, in all scenarios which highlighted that both local and national balancing is likely to be increasingly important.

View the project reports online hereWPD WWU South Wales OA Map No Key


To find out more about this project, contact Poppy Maltby at pmaltby@regen.co.uk and you can also watch the webinar about the project on the events page here.


 

People on this project

Ray Arrell
Ray Arrell
Head of technical development
Ray leads Regen's technical development strategy, coordinating the development of the company's technical capabilities…
Bruce Bardsley
Bruce Bardsley
Energy analyst
Bruce is a new intern at Regen. He will be assisting the data analytics…
Tamar Bourne
Tamar Bourne
Head of smart energy
Tamar is the head of smart energy at Regen. She strives to be at…
Ellie Brundrett
Ellie Brundrett
Project manager
After graduating from the University of Birmingham with a BSc in Geography in 2016,…
Christine Chapter
Christine Chapter
Head of innovation
Christine has recently joined Regen as our new Head of Innovation. She is looking…
Olly Frankland
Olly Frankland
Project manager
Olly manages a wide variety of complex projects. He has developed a strong knowledge…
Johnny Gowdy
Johnny Gowdy
Director
Johnny is a director of Regen and leads the development of our advisory projects,…
Madeleine Greenhalgh
Madeleine Greenhalgh
Policy and advocacy manager
Madeleine is the policy lead for Regen and the Electricity Storage Network, working to…
Rachel Hayes
Rachel Hayes
Associate director
Rachel is currently on secondment, in the strategy team in the Cabinet Office working…
Jonty Haynes
Jonty Haynes
Energy analyst
Jonty is an Energy Analyst at Regen delivering a range of technical support services.…
Ky Hoare
Ky Hoare
Local energy coordinator
Ky specialises in local energy issues and supports the delivery of Regen’s community energy…
Mark Howard
Mark Howard
Project manager
Mark holds a bachelors degree in engineering and has over a decade of experience…
Merlin Hyman
Merlin Hyman
Chief executive
Merlin leads Regen’s mission to transform how we generate, supply and use energy. Merlin…
Jonathan Lamont
Jonathan Lamont
Jonathan is a new addition to Regen fulfilling the role of graduate intern aiding…
Estelle Limon
Estelle Limon
Policy and impact coordinator
Estelle coordinates Regen's communications, policy and impact activities. She works to develop Regen's external…
Tamsyn Lonsdale-Smith
Tamsyn Lonsdale-Smith
Energy analyst
Tamsyn is a new starter at Regen as an energy analyst intern and will…
Poppy Maltby
Poppy Maltby
Head of cities and regions
Poppy is Head of Cities and Regions at Regen. She is leading our work…
Frankie Mayo
Frankie Mayo
Senior energy analyst
As Senior Analyst at Regen Frankie has lead Regen's 'future energy scenarios' assessments, assessing…
Grace Millman
Grace Millman
Energy analyst
Grace is an energy analyst at Regen delivering high quality research, analysis and energy…
Rois Smith
Rois Smith
Energy analyst intern
Rois joined Regen in September as a graduate analyst intern.  Rois read Geography at…
Joel Venn
Joel Venn
Head analyst
As head analyst, Joel is responsible for leading and developing Regen’s analytical team, as…
Sophie Whinney
Sophie Whinney
Energy analyst
Sophie is a new starter at Regen on a graduate internship and will be…
Hazel Williams
Hazel Williams
Associate director
Hazel is responsible for Regen’s project delivery, leading on resourcing, quality assurance and developing…

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