Energy crisis HELL: Bills could surge even higher as millions of Brits face hydrogen tax

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Ofgem’s most recent announcement of raising the price cap for household energy bills to around £2,800 a year has risked putting millions of British families in a state of fuel poverty. Last week, a senior executive from the industry regulator admitted that this move, combined with their decision last winter to raise it to £1,971, put 12 million households in a position where their energy bills ate up a major part of their income. In a bid to tackle the global fossil fuel energy crisis, countries, including the UK, have begun turning towards alternative sources of energy, including hydrogen.

Hydrogen, which is seen as a “cleaner” alternative to natural gas, so far is not commercially viable, as depending on the method of production, it can actually use more natural gas than if used directly.

When powered by renewable electricity, the hydrogen produced is labelled as “green”, however, when generated using natural gas, the hydrogen subsequently formed is labelled “blue”.

It currently takes around 30 percent more natural gas to produce the equivalent blue hydrogen than if the fossil fuel was used directly.

To accelerate the shift to green hydrogen, the UK and Scottish Governments proposing a “twin-track” move towards hydrogen, with blue being used in conjunction with carbon capture technology to reduce its climate impact.

However, experts fear that this shift towards hydrogen could lead to energy bills spiking even further.

Tom Baxter, a visiting professor at Strathclyde University and former lecturer at the University of Aberdeen warned that the public is being “duped” by plans to switch to hydrogen.

He says the move will be “a dripping roast for taxpayers’ money” despite enthusiasm from government and industry bodies.

He expressed fears that the price of hydrogen on household bills could be double the cost of natural gas, based on projections set out by the Government in a report published last year.

Mr Baxter said: “There’s so much hype in there, so much seduction, without the evidence.

“Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the world, it burns to water – what’s not to like?

“But when you start unravelling it all, there is lots not to like.

“And what is good for big businesses is not necessarily good for consumers.

“I believe we all have a right to know what this is going to cost us.”

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The Government acknowledged that a move to 100 percent blue hydrogen for domestic heating now, amid record-high global gas prices, would impact household bills.

But they said a decision on hydrogen use for home heating was unlikely before 2026 and changes “wouldn’t happen overnight”.

A Government spokesman said: “Home-grown hydrogen production will play a vital role in reducing our reliance on expensive fossil fuels by providing clean, secure energy for British industry, power generation, and transport.

“In the meantime, we are working with industry, regulators and local partners on projects that will trial the use of low-carbon hydrogen as an alternative to expensive gas in heating buildings.”

The Scottish Government said it is “fully committed to helping the hydrogen sector develop and grow”.

Investments of £100million have been awarded to renewable hydrogen projects over the current parliament, plus £15million towards a hydrogen hub in Aberdeen.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “Both renewable and low-carbon hydrogen will play an increasingly important role in Scotland’s energy transition.

“Our priorities are to get as much renewable hydrogen into the energy system as quickly as possible while supporting the establishment of low-carbon hydrogen production at scale in the 2020s, linked to carbon capture and storage.”

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