Industry experts gather to kick off major new gas grid decarbonisation project

Plans to decarbonise Britain’s gas networks will take a step forward today, as industry experts gather for the first meeting of a major new pan-industry project to decarbonise Britain’s gas grid.

Energy Networks Association’s (ENA) Gas Decarbonisation Pathways Project will co-ordinate the ongoing efforts of Britain’s gas grid operators to decarbonise the country’s gas grids, whilst providing a blueprint for future plans, to help meet our climate change targets.

This follows on from a series of major new commitments from the Government to decarbonise Britain’s heating, announced in last week’s Spring Statement.

A wider range of representatives will attend including senior representatives from the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, consumer and environmental groups and wider energy industry groups, to help shape the future for Britain’s gas networks.

Topics on the agenda include the role that gas can play in a 2050 energy system, the key challenges to achieving emission targets by 2050, and the critical energy supply and demand uncertainties.

The outputs of the meeting will be used to define the work programme of the Gas Decarbonisation Pathways Project, which will model the role of the gas network in a 2050 energy system that meets Britain’s climate change targets, assessing the pathways, and identifying short-term actions that can be taken to continue their progress to date. The work will be independently undertaken by leading energy consultancy Navigant and be reviewed by some of Britain’s leading energy academics.

This will all lead to better understanding of what the enabling pathways are for decarbonising the gas networks, the steps that need to be taken and when, and how they fit a 2050 vision for decarbonisation of the whole energy system.

Gas plays a vital role across our energy system: the gas networks carry around three times more energy each year than the electricity networks, and provide the primary source of heating for around 85% of our homes.

Hydrogen and renewable green gases have a vital role to play in decarbonising the UK heat demand, and where suitable, combining hybrid heating systems to meet the needs of UK customers.

New, available data will also become increasingly important to manage the gas networks to support more sustainable and green gases which will help deeper decarbonisation and support the transition to hydrogen networks. Low carbon gas also has a vital role in moving the nation – powering buses, heavy goods vehicles and even trains.

Further meetings will be taking place this year and Navigant will be reporting their findings in autumn 2019.

Commenting, David Smith, Chief Executive, Energy Networks Association says:

“Making sure we deliver for the public at the best value is paramount. I am grateful we have such an expert group from across the energy industry who will be able shape the work that Navigant are doing to help us further develop the pathways that leads to the decarbonisation of the gas network.

 “We welcomed the Chancellor’s commitment in the Spring Statement to increase the amount of green gas in the system which will play an important role in helping to deliver the government’s Clean Growth Strategy.

“This is an exciting time for the gas networks as we build on the innovative work that they have already been doing to reduce emissions and now develop a plan that takes us through to 2050.”

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 Notes to editors

 Energy Networks Association represents the companies responsible for operating the ‘wires and pipes’ of Britain’s energy network infrastructure.

  • Serving over 30 million customers, they are responsible for the transmission and distribution network of “wires and pipes” that keep our lights on, our homes warm and our businesses running.
  • We need to decarbonise to meet climate targets and this will require changes for the networks and the consumers who rely on them. Putting the public at the heart of the process will therefore be vital.
  • Research conducted by KPMG in 2016 found that evolving the role of Britain’s gas networks infrastructure so they play a part in meeting our decarbonisation targets could save £214bn by 2050. This research can be found online here.
  • Independent YouGov polling commissioned by ENA in May 2018 found that 75% of people support the Government doing more to prioritise the production & use of domestic green gas over fossil fuel gas. The polling can be found online here.
  • The UK is now one of the leading green gas producers in the world, with more than 90 biomethane injection sites operational and connected to the network.
  • Low carbon gas will have a vital role in delivering a safe, reliable network while reducing carbon emissions at the best value for the public. The gas networks are supporting a range of projects to provide consumers with options including biogases from waste, and hydrogen with zero emissions at the point of use.
  • Hydrogen and renewable green gases have a vital role to play in decarbonising the UK heat demand, and where suitable, combining hybrid heating systems to meet the needs of UK customers