There is no specific legislation in relation to hydrogen and, in the absence of any forthcoming legislation (of which there is currently no sign), hydrogen will be governed by the existing legislation for natural gas, namely the Gas Act 1986 (“Gas Act”), with hydrogen being captured by the definition of “gas” ( “…….any substance in a gaseous state which consists wholly or mainly of- (i) methane, ethane, propane, butane, hydrogen or carbon monoxide; (ii) a mixture of two or more of those gases; or (iii) a combustible mixture of one of more of those gases and air” (Section 48(1) Gas Act 1986)).
The Gas Act also confers powers on the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority to regulate the UK gas industry, which it does through the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (“Ofgem”). It follows that Ofgem will be the economic regulator in respect of hydrogen and will issue licences pursuant to the Gas Act to anyone who wishes to engage in the supply, shipping or transportation of gas. Licences would also contain provisions in relation to the safe operation of gas networks transporting hydrogen.
So, what might future regulation of hydrogen look like and what regulatory and contractual frameworks need to be considered?.