H2 Green, subsidiary of Getech and developer of regional hydrogen hubs, and Element Two, developer of hydrogen refuelling stations, yesterday announced their strategic agreement, “aimed at accelerating the creation of the first UK-wide hydrogen network”. According to the companies’ press releases, the next year will see them develop a joint asset development roadmap and demonstration project for the roll-out of 800 UK-wide hydrogen fuelling stations, as well as negotiating and concluding "a binding long-term co-development and offtake contract". This is part of Element Two’s plans to deploy 2000 pumps onto the UK network by 2030 and draws together a wealth of resource from two major portfolio holders in the hydrogen sector. That is not all – according to a press statement from Element Two: “the two companies will utilise state of the art analytical software created by H2 Green’s parent company, Getech Group PLC, along with the significant data gathered by Element 2 on customer habits, to analyse efficiencies for the benefit of both Companies customers”.

This is an encouraging long-term commitment and a great step forward for the UK green hydrogen industry, which is well-regarded as one of the key features of a ‘net zero’ UK. The announcement comes within a couple of weeks of investor and utilities provider, Octopus Energy, stating its plans to invest in green hydrogen, as part of a strategy targeting “parts of the economy electrification can’t reach”. It also falls in the same week it was revealed that prototype hydrogen meters, developed by smart meter specialist MeteRSit, will be installed in Northern Gas Network’s Low Thornley housing development site, near Gateshead. The green hydrogen market is clearly now high on the agenda for stakeholders across the supply chain and is swiftly gaining momentum.

As lawyers, this inevitably gets us thinking about the key challenges facing the industry from a legal perspective and how we might overcome them.

  • In any emerging markets, there will inevitably be a period of establishing new ‘norms’ for risk allocation. Sensible discussions about risk, including and who is best-placed to manage that risk, will be absolutely key – this is a sentiment which is emphasised in the Government’s Construction Playbook, a policy guidance document for publicly procured projects, issued in December 2020.
  • Harmonisation and collaboration will also be critical, whilst being sensitive to the concerns of developers, whose primary interests will include the protection of their intellectual property.
  • Stakeholders will of course be approaching this new industry from a variety of different industries, specialisms and jurisdictions, so getting the right advice to help bridge those gaps will be increasingly important.

All in all, this is an exciting time to be working within the UK energy market and we look forward to continuing to be a part of the roll out of innovative technologies, driven by the ambitious net zero target.

If you would like to discuss the opportunities in the green hydrogen sector, please do get in contact with us and we’d be very happy to help.

Article written by Lauren Luscombe, senior associate in the Burges Salmon Construction & Engineering team.