Customer Choice Means Vital Future for Gas
For immediate release - Wednesday 4 November 2015
The preference of the majority of UK customers for gas heating is an important and often overlooked factor in meeting the UK’s decarbonisation challenge in a practical and cost effective way. That was one of clear messages at an industry conference on the future of gas, hosted by Energy Networks Association (ENA) and the Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group (PRASEG).
Gas has provided an affordable way to heat homes over many decades and currently meets 85% of domestic heat demand, as well as 50% of demand for cooking. There was agreement amongst speakers at the conference that pathways to meeting the UK’s 2050 decarbonisation target must place greater emphasis on consumer preference and behaviour, alongside other considerations of the energy ‘trilemma’.
The cost of moving away from gas was also discussed, with the higher cost of electric heating, the financial impact of decommissioning gas infrastructure and the vital role of gas in addressing fuel poverty all raised as important considerations. Steven Edwards, Head of Regulation at Wales and West Utilities, presented the findings of the Gas Distribution Networks’ Bridgend project which showed that in a typical British town over 80% of customers had little or no financial means of moving away from gas heating, and would therefore require significant subsidy if they were to do so.
Shadow Energy Minister Alan Whitehead MP and PRASEG Deputy Chairman Peter Aldous MP were in attendance and discussed the long term role of gas in a low carbon energy system, which featured prominently. SGN, National Grid and Northern Gas Networks all presented work they are carrying out to explore the potential of green gases such as hydrogen and biomethane to meet heating, cooking and transport demand in a cost effective way, which makes use of the UK’s world leading gas networks and reduces the customer impact of the low carbon transition.
Tony Glover, ENA Director of Policy, said "Today’s conference demonstrated that, whilst there are a range of options available to us in meeting the UK’s decarbonisation challenges, gas will be crucial to delivering a practical and cost effective low carbon transition."
The gas innovation projects demonstrated at the ENA/PRASEG conference will feature at the ENA’s upcoming Low Carbon Networks Innovation Conference in Liverpool (24-26th November) along with workshops and presentations on innovation across all gas and electricity network sectors.
Notes to Editors
* ENA is the voice of the networks representing the ‘wires and pipes’ transmission and distribution network operators for gas and electricity in the UK and Ireland.
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