The voice of the networks

Gas Goes Green

We’re creating the world’s first zero-carbon gas grid by speeding up the switch from natural gas to hydrogen for the 85% of UK households connected to the gas grid.

Gas Goes Green is our plan to deliver net-zero emissions in the most cost-effective and least disruptive way possible. It’s a blueprint for our gas networks to meet the challenges and opportunities of climate change.

Britain’s extensive gas network is one of the best developed in the world, providing safe, secure, affordable energy to homes and businesses across the UK. The gas we deliver plays a critical role in our everyday lives, generating electricity, fuelling vehicles, heating our homes and providing the significant amounts of energy UK heavy industry needs.

To meet the biggest energy challenge of our generation – making deep cuts to carbon emissions by 2050 (2045 in Scotland) – we need to embrace new technology that builds on these strengths and delivers an integrated, flexible network in the future.

Our Gas Goes Green project brings together the engineering expertise from the UK’s five gas network operators, building on the foundations of our existing grid infrastructure and the work that the networks have been undertaking to build a low cost, low carbon network and develop new technologies that make the most of biogas, bioSNG, hydrogen and smart hybrid heating systems.

Delivering the Pathway to Net Zero is the Gas Goes Green programme launch document detailing how we intend to adress these Net zero challenges.

Areas of focus

Gas Goes Green will demonstrate the coordinated activity of the gas networks across the UK to meet the challenges of climate change, whilst supporting policy decisions to deliver the decarbonised gas we need. We will:

  • Demonstrate the role of gas in meeting net-zero emissions and our carbon budgets and the importance of innovation and investment to deliver against decarbonisation pathways
  • Work across the networks to provide a comprehensive view of key infrastructure changes required, taking a whole systems approach
  • Launch new projects to address new challenges and opportunities for net zero emissions
  • Articulate what the Gas Goes Green vision will deliver for the UK’s nations and regions
  • Identify policy, regulatory, skills and research and innovation gaps, setting out policy options and short term ‘low regrets’ measures
  • Engage strategically with the government and across the energy industry to ensure the gas networks are delivering their objectives

To achieve these objectives Gas Goes Green has created six workstreams under the programme.

  • WS1: Investing in Net Zero
  • WS2: Gas quality and safety
  • WS3: Consumer options
  • WS4: System enhancement
  • WS5: Hydrogen transformation
  • WS6: Communications and stakeholder engagement

Each of the six workstreams has specific deliverables that will be undertaken by network and industry experts:

  • Investing in net zero

    The gas networks have set out their intentions to deliver the world’s first net zero compliant network. Workstream 1 brings together the business plan commitments from the gas networks and sets out on the pathway to 2050 the progress that can be made. Investing in net zero builds on the innovation projects undertaken to date by the gas networks and their close cooperation with green gas producers and suppliers.

  • Gas quality and safety

    Existing gas legislation and regulation will need to change to allow for greater proportions of net-zero emissions-compliant gases. Workstream 2 will support efforts to enable a wider range of gases to be flowed through the gas networks and for these to be billed appropriately. This is a first step that needs to be taken in this area of the pathway to net zero. Gas quality and safety will also consider gas separation technologies (splitting of blended gas streams into their component parts) and their potential role in the future energy system.

  • Consumer options

    Gas supply and demand are set to change in the net zero world, with green gas transport options and new hydrogen ready domestic appliances.

    Decarbonisation of the gas grid may impact industrial, commercial and domestic customers in many different ways, with such impacts in turn affecting the role of gas in the net-zero energy system of the future. By working together with the gas networks, the industrial, power, transport and heat sectors will be able to meet their own decarbonisation ambitions and ensure a smooth and just transition.

    During the transition to net-zero emissions, gas vehicles and flexible domestic appliances, like hybrid heating systems, will become commonplace. And with this deployment pathway new regulation will be required.

    This workstream will also consider implications of gas and electricity systems becoming increasingly linked and whole systems in their operation.

  • System enhancement

    New connections processes can make it simpler and cheaper to connect to the gas network, and can improve system operation.

    As the gas networks continue on the pathway to net-zero emissions there is a need for the network to be smarter and be responsive to the optimised future system as it begins to take shape, facilitating more decentralised gas production or through new maintenance and replacement practices.

    This workstream will anticipate the net-zero emissions world and the changes required of gas network assets to deliver it. This may include changes to processes such as gas entry and exit connections, to assets such as pipelines, plant and equipment, rotating equipment, or to services to respond to new network configurations and smart system operation.

  • Hydrogen transformation

    Hydrogen is critical for delivering net-zero emissions, with all major new studies expecting it to have a significant role.

    For several years, the gas networks have been working together to evaluate and provide technical, safety, quality and financial evidence to demonstrate the viability of using the gas networks to transport and distribute 100% hydrogen through existing and new networks.

    This workstream will take this work forward while also coordinating with other gas network projects and with government activity relating to hydrogen. Gas Goes Green will coordinate all of the network activities relating to hydrogen including Hy4Heat and BEIS’ hydrogen programme.

    Technology is advancing rapidly and one of the steps that government could quickly and easily take would be to mandate new boiler installations to be “hydrogen-ready” when the appliances come to market in the coming years.

    Mandating “hydrogen-ready” boilers is part of a suite of actions that should be taken to advance the implementation of a Net Zero 2050 including:

    • Introducing a comprehensive energy efficiency programme – helping to keep peoples’ homes warm and alleviating fuel poverty
    • Increasing the volume of green gases, like biomethane and hydrogen, in the energy system
    • Providing support for large-scale trials including Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage, hydrogen production and smart hybrid heating systems
    • Changing gas safety, metering and billing regulations to allow hydrogen into the system
  • Pathways to Net Zero

    Navigant’s “Pathways to Net Zero”, commissioned by Energy Networks Association (ENA) and independently reviewed by Imperial College, sets out a detailed plan to deliver a zero carbon gas grid, with clear technical, operational and regulatory actions that need to take place to achieve it.

    ENA appointed Navigant to deliver a research project to provide independent, academic-reviewed assessment of the decarbonisation pathways and their impact. This research culminates in the Pathways to Net Zero report, launched October 2019, and is supported by wide stakeholder engagement across the energy industry.

  • Pathway to 2050

    Decarbonising the gas network will be critical for the UK to meet its Net Zero targets, with heating being one of the most challenging issues to face. Pathways to Net Zero is the first report to outline a viable pathway for decarbonised gas in 2050 that uses more low carbon and renewable gases along with further electrification. The approach could save around £13bn a year compared to a Pathway that relies on electricity alone.

    The gas sector can contribute step-by-step to the decarbonisation of Great Britain’s energy system:

    • Preparing for transition
    • Facilitating connections
    • Expanding supply
    • Expanding the demand base
    • Increasing low carbon gases
    • 100% low carbon gases

    Smooth transformation

    Transforming the gas network will ensure that the move to Net Zero is as done as smoothly and efficiently as possible while minimising the impact on our lives, from the way we heat our homes to the way we travel around the country.

    In future low carbon and renewable gases will:

    • Continue to provide heating and hot water for homes and businesses
    • Be used to provide heat for industry
    • Help manage peaks in power and balance the use of renewables
    • Be used extensively in the transport sector, in particular for international shipping and also for heavy road freight

    The UK has made significant progress in decarbonising the energy system and the scale and pace of the challenge is set to increase as the UK tackles the climate emergency.

    This progress is in part thanks to the strengths of a privatised gas network which has incentivised innovation and investment.

    Britain’s unique system of energy network regulation has already helped make the country a world leader of renewable electricity. Now it is doing the same for clean gas.

    The gas network companies are already playing their part: building on their experience which has already seen nearly 100 green gas production plants connected across the country and developing innovative research which has seen hydrogen emerge as a key policy option for heat decarbonisation.

Getting involved

Greening the gas grid is about more than decarbonisation. Gas Goes Green can unlock green jobs and regional economic growth.

The gas networks have a pathway to net-zero emissions – but how will this be accomplished? When will actions need to be taken, and by whom? Workstream 6 will begin to tackle such questions while also engaging stakeholders from within and outside the energy industry on the important role gas has to play in tackling climate change.

Outside of the energy industry there is low public awareness of the implications of the decarbonisation of heat which Gas Goes Green can address. Consumers, be they transport, industry or households are likely to look to advice from energy suppliers, equipment manufacturers and installers of low carbon appliances so all will need to be involved in the programme.

  • Advisory Group

    The Advisory Group, made up of industry representatives, will allow stakeholder input to programme developments and will report back the progress of the programme to the wider industry. It will provide input to the Steering Group, on the overall project scope, progress, risks & issues, as well as on workstreams, with comments and feedback on deliverables, as outlined in the Terms of reference.

    The Advisory Group is essential to our programme to:

    • Give our stakeholders the opportunity to provide early input and improve the quality of our deliverables
    • Help stakeholders increase their awareness of Gas Goes Green and upcoming activities
    • Increase awareness about programme opportunities and risks, and support collaboration wherever possible

    Representatives

    To help guide the work of Gas Goes Green, we convene a representative Advisory Group, comprising experts from across the energy industry.

    • Tatiana Bouchard, BEIS
    • Alex Howe, BEIS
    • Amy Salisbury, BEIS
    • Seb van Dort, BSI
    • James Walker, Carbon Trust
    • Abdul Kamara, CBI
    • David Joffe, CCC
    • Chris Gent, CCSA
    • Zoe Guijarro, Citizens Advice
    • Dalia Majumder-Russell, CMS
    • John Graves, Coventry University
    • Fionagh Thomson, Durham Uni
    • Scott Restrick, Energy Action Scotland
    • Lucy Ritchie, Energy and Utility Skills
    • Dennis Van-Puyvelde, Energy Networks Australia
    • Richard Halsey, Energy Systems Catapult
    • Julie Cox, Energy UK
    • Mike Foster, EUA
    • Jim Stancliffe, HSE
    • Ross Anderson, ICOM Energy Association
    • Ella Cooper, ICOM Energy Association
    • Neil Atkinson, IGEM
    • Steven De Ranter, Interconnector UK
    • Tom Knowland, Leeds City Council
    • Frank Aaskov, MakeUK
    • Jonathan Scurlock, National Farmers Union
    • Joanna Campbell, National Infrastructure Comission
    • Laura Brown, Newcastle University
    • Fred Frazer, Northern Irish Government
    • Peter Bingham, Ofgem
    • Michael Wagner, Ofgem
    • Kiara Zennaro, REA
    • Jesse Scharf, REAL Green Gas Certification
    • Barnaby Wharton, Renewable UK
    • Laura Sandys, SGN
    • Sophie Sudworth, SP Energy Networks
    • Ian Calvert, The Association for Decentralised Energy
    • Amelie Trepass, Traverse
    • Celia Greaves, UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association
    • Charles McAllister, UKOOG
    • Daniel Scamman , University College London
    • Richard Lowes, University of Exeter
    • Ron Loveland, Welsh Government

    We welcome expressions of interest more widely by getting in touch.

  • Invitation to tender

    Decarbonisation pathway for Scotland

    On behalf of National Grid, SGN and the Scottish Government, we are launching an Invitation to Tender (ITT) to appoint a consultant who will evaluate the Pathways for decarbonising the gas networks and their customers in Scotland, consistent with our Gas Decarbonisation Pathways for Great Britain as a whole and Scotland’s emission reduction targets.

    To apply, refer to the Invitation to Tender in full, Scope of Services and Award Criteria that will guide you through your application. You can find these documents and related decarbonisation pathways resources in our Resource library.

    Contact the Gas Goes Green project team with any questions. To promote a fair process, we will answer any clarifying questions and share anonymously with all invitees who have expressed an interest in responding.

  • Meetings and webinars

    Input and feedback at Advisory Group meetings will be recorded and we anticipate this will be used to shape project workstreams, deliverables and outputs. You can search our Resource library to find agendas, slide decks, and any supporting documents for the upcoming Advisory Group meetings, as well as materials from previous meetings and webinars.