The UK North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) is expected to take on the role of offshore hydrogen transport and storage regulator following the conclusion of a consultation on the proposal.
The move is intended to support the industry by enabling pioneering projects to obtain the necessary licences and consents and move quickly into operation, the NSTA said this week.
Once the legislation comes into effect, it will mean that:
The move to put hydrogen regulation in place follows the publication of the UK Hydrogen Strategy in 2021, which emphasized the role that hydrogen can play in the drive to reach net zero.
The Government laid out its ambition for 10GW of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity to be available for use across the economy by 2030 in its British Energy Security Strategy, published in April 2022.
The UK Hydrogen Strategy estimated that 5GW of low-carbon hydrogen production could produce hydrogen equivalent to the amount of gas consumed by over 3 million households in the UK each year.
"This new, low carbon hydrogen could help provide cleaner energy to power our economy and our everyday lives – from cookers to power plants, to the heat in our homes," the NSTA said.
Hedvig Ljungerud, NSTA Director of Strategy, said:"This decision highlights the importance of hydrogen in a net zero future and further cements the NSTA’s role in driving forward the energy transition. We fully appreciate the need for an integrated energy basin and firmly believe we are best placed to deliver it.
“It is also vital for the development of the wider hydrogen economy, which the NSTA will support alongside our ongoing work in carbon storage and fossil fuels.
The Statutory Instrument was laid in Parliament on September 6. Subject to Parliamentary approval, the legislation will come into effect in 21 days.