Thousands of jobs in the UK could be created over the coming decades with investment in low carbon hydrogen technology.
The UK Government has launched its hydrogen strategy that it says could support 9000 jobs across the country.
The plan, which would support both green and blue hydrogen, would help several potential projects in Scotland.
The aim is to have five gigawatts of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030.
It could have the potential to replace natural gas that would power around three million homes in the UK.
The UK energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “This home-grown clean energy source has the potential to transform the way we power our lives and will be essential to tackling climate change and reaching net-zero.
“With the potential to provide a third of the UK’s energy in the future, our strategy positions the UK as first in the global race to ramp up hydrogen technology and seize the thousands of jobs and private investment that come with it.”
It is hoped the new strategy will unlock £4bn of investment.
Current projects include a trial in Fife of delivering the world’s first hydrogen-to-homes gas network in two years time.
Also, it will aim to support the Acorn Project at St Fergus which will take North Sea gas and produce low carbon hydrogen.
Green hydrogen is created through renewables such as wind and tidal with blue hydrogen made with fossil fuels but the emissions are captured and stored underground.
Helen Melone, from Scottish Renewables, said: “It is important that government does not take its eye off the prize here.
“Scotland – the windiest country in Europe – has an exciting role to play on hydrogen and work to deliver this ambitious strategy should recognise the key role the country will play in realising the UK’s hydrogen economy and net-zero targets.”
However, unions say the plans are not ambitious enough.
Andy Prendergast, GMB national secretary, said: “We have concerns that the programme is not ambitious enough and will be insufficient for hydrogen development to become a cornerstone of both our energy policy and the transition to net-zero.
”Five gigawatts of low carbon hydrogen production capacity is nowhere near enough – we need to go further and need to be bolder.
“It’s also a mistake to highlight the so-called success of the UK’s offshore wind industry. Turbines and jackets are made overseas, robbing UK manufacturing of much-needed investment and skills.”
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