For a long time ENA has been calling for a strategic approach to gas policy. To help deliver this we have called for a ‘Gas Networks Strategy Group’. Over the last year we have been helping to influence heat policy in DECC and we were very encouraged by the “Future of Heating, Meeting the Challenge” document published back in March. It was against this background that DECC held a roundtable on gas policy a week or so ago. ENA along with the Gas Distribution Networks and National Grid participated in the meeting with senior DECC officials. Also present were key players in the area of gas policy. There were presentations from David Wagstaff, Head of Heat Strategy at DECC and from Marcus Stewart form National Grid, who chairs the ENA Gas Futures Group.
There was a wide ranging discussion with a particular focus on heat policy, the role for bio-methane and other alternative gas sources such as hydrogen as well as issues around energy security.
It was clear from all those present that the gas network is recognised as a vital UK asset. The changes in supply/demand patterns for UK gas will mean that the way the networks need to operate will have to change significantly and will need to be more dynamic and utilise active optimisation of assets. This presents challenges around quality standards, specifically Calorific Value fluctuation. Innovation schemes play a huge role here. There are some key innovative solutions being developed, and the roundtable heard specifically about the new Network Innovation Competition submissions including Flexible Network Compression, BioSNG and Hydrogen.
ENA along with the GDNs strongly emphasised their belief in a “Gas Networks Strategy Group”, an ambition generally supported. It was apparent that there were many issues to be explored and discussed more fully. Argument alone that such a group is badly needed.