Move will enable pioneering projects to go ahead
The 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.
Once the legislation comes into effect, NSTA will become the licensing/consenting authority for offshore hydrogen pipelines bringing these under similar arrangements currently used for oil and gas pipelines. The NSTA will also become the licensing/consenting authority for offshore hydrogen storage, which will enable the NSTA to issue hydrogen storage licences. The NSTA will become a consultee to OPRED on decommissioning and repurposing for both offshore hydrogen transport and storage. OPRED will become the decommissioning and environmental regulator for offshore hydrogen transport and storage.
The move to put hydrogen regulation in place follows the publication of the UK Hydrogen Strategy in 2021, which emphasised 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.
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 today (6 September). Subject to Parliamentary approval, the legislation will come into effect in 21 days.
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