Energy minister puts stake in heart of polemic Whitby hydrogen heating trial

Whitby will not be used as the testing ground for the UK’s first village sized Northern gas networks trial of hydrogen for domestic heating after locals expressed their opposition to the move.

The announcement was confirmed in a Tweet by energy efficiency minister Lord Callanan who said: “After listening to the views of residents, it’s clear that there is strong local support, therefore Whitby will no longer be considered as the location for the UK’s first hydrogen village trial”.

He added that discussions with Northern Gas networks about Redcar trials were ongoing and that he would announce the next steps shortly.

Alongside heat pumps, switching to 100% hydrogen heating is considered a green alternative to traditional heating.

However, it would mean big changes to gas storage and transport networks. Typical concerns about hydrogen heating include being worried about the risk of explosion and the expense. A review last year described hydrogen heating as “unsuitable”.

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In a statement responding to the cancellation of the trial which was set to impact around 2,000 homes, the Whitby hydrogen village project said: “We know that this will be disappointing to the many residents who told us they wanted their community to play a pioneering role in decarbonising how we heat our homes in the UK.”

“We are incredibly grateful to everyone in Whitby who has given us their time and attention over the last year as we have developed our proposal.”

The organisation added: “We believe strongly in the role that hydrogen can play alongside other technologies and energy sources in reaching net zero. While Whitby won’t be the location for the trial, the information we have gained over the last twelve months will still play an invaluable role in shaping how the UK heats its homes and businesses in the near future.”

The statement continued: “This isn’t goodbye from us to the residents of Whitby. Beyond a final decision from government on the project location in the Autumn, we will continue to keep the community safe and warm as their gas distribution network.”

“We will also continue to work relentlessly to make sure that our customers have access to options that meet their diverse needs on the journey to net zero”.

EnergyNature and the environmentNet zeroNews

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