As the UK moves towards an increasing reliance on renewables, hydrogen can provide several functions that will result in a more resilient, flexible and cost-effective power domain.
Hydrogen can provide large scale energy storage to reduce costs of renewables. As more renewables are deployed, we are having to curtail generation at times when production exceeds demand. Utilising hydrogen storage eliminates curtailment and reduces costs.
Hydrogen can also deliver clean firm power generation and peaking power which are valuable functions within the energy system that cannot be provided by renewables. The use of hydrogen in gas power plants (CCGT or OCGT) complements the deployment of renewables.
There are also several system benefits to the use of hydrogen. Electrolysers can be utilised to balance the grid, avoid curtailment and provide demand side response including frequency response.
Peak demand for gas is four times the supply capacity of electricity. The use of hydrogen for power and sector coupling can assist renewables deployment, reduce infrastructure costs and improve reliability.
Demonstration projects are already underway in the UK, blending hydrogen with natural gas and putting it into existing gas power stations (CCGT). This repurposing of the existing gas distribution network will relieve pressure on the electricity grid.