Vote on creation of new hydrogen economic strategy


A vote on Plaid Cymru proposals to boost the hydrogen economy in Wales will take place later today in the National Assembly.

The motion calls on the Welsh Government to hold talks with businesses and researchers to hold a major event to demonstrate the Welsh nation’s ambition when it comes to the hydrogen economy.

If the motion is successful and passed by Assembly Members then it is expected the Welsh Government would bring forward a comprehensive hydrogen economy strategy.

The debate will also note a research project for Plaid Cymru AM Simon Thomas on the potential of hydrogen in the decarbonisation of transport in Wales.

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs Simon Thomas said,

“There are currently few uses of hydrogen in the transport sector in Wales. The report I commissioned found despite several initiatives, including the Welsh Government’s 2010 Hydrogen Highway announcement, the scale of deployment has been limited and piecemeal.

“One role of government in the development of a hydrogen economy is to signal its support for the use of the technology by industry through developing a hydrogen strategy and enabling and facilitating its use. 

“We need to use all the tools available in the fight against air pollution and climate change and, if we start now, there is potential for Wales to take a leading role in the emerging hydrogen economy.” 

“Last week the departing First Minister Carwyn Jones, in reply to calls for more action to cut air pollution, told us “I don't think the technology's ready.” The Plaid Cymru report proves that the technology is ready. Hydrogen is already being utilised by forward thinking and open-minded administrations and businesses. 

“For all the talk of state of the art diesel trains and busses, the fact remains that to refer to any mode of transport emitting toxic fumes as state of the art is a massive distortion of the truth. 

“Hydrogen powered trains is a cost-effective way of updating our creaking rail lines and overcomes the need for the introduction of large scale infrastructure with the subsequent delays.” 

Also speaking in the Plaid Cymru debate Ynys Môn AM, Rhun Ap Iorwerth added,

“Warnings from Airbus about what happens after Brexit have caused real concern in Wales this week. Airbus has been working on hydrogen fuel cell technology as a power source for 15 years. If Wales could prove that it was serious about harnessing the power of hydrogen, perhaps Airbus could be persuaded to develop technology here in Wales. 

“Toyota is another manufacturer that has a large presence in Wales. The firm is one of the global leaders in developing hydrogen powered private transport. Their Mirai is one of the most successful fuel cell cars. Like Airbus, economic uncertainty because of the Brexit process make continued investment in the Deeside unpredictable. Showing that Wales was leading the way in encouraging adoption of fuel cell cars and installing the necessary infrastructure could encourage Toyota to ensure further investment in Wales.

“The Welsh Government should reach out to the Hydrogen Council and co-organise a major event in Wales which communicates Wales’ ambition on the hydrogen economy      to a global audience. Such an event should also celebrate the life of William Grove of      Swansea, who invented the hydrogen fuel cell in 1842.”

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