WS1 - Investing in net zero

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The gas networks have set out their intentions to deliver the world’s first net zero compliant network.

This worksteam addresses the need to deliver the right investments to allow the network to transition to net zero. UK gas networks have now submitted their business plans to Ofgem, the energy industry regulator, for the next regulatory period (RIIO2) commencing April 2021. These plans detail the progress that can be made in the early 2020s to deliver net zero and pave the way for accelerated decarbonisation in subsequent years.

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.

As well as the deliverables set out below, during 2020 the gas networks will continue to support delivery of energy efficiency measures to reduce demand and fuel poverty. Support for the greening of the gas grid will also continue, both with the extension to the Renewable Heat Incentive and with the development of the green gas levy. The gas networks will continue their involvement in industrial clusters throughout the UK and in CCUS development.

Deliverable 1.1 - Zero Carbon Commitment

The gas networks will demonstrate through Gas Goes Green how the future proofing of the existing network will deliver the most cost effective and least disruptive way to deliver the UK government’s 2050 target.

In doing so this will minimise the behavioural changes needed to reduce emissions and provide current and future consumers with solutions that are familiar and deliver the comfort, flexibility and affordability they require.

Click here to read our Zero Carbon Commitment.

Deliverable 1.2 - Iron Mains Risk Reduction Programme emissions saving

Gas Goes Green will assess the greenhouse gas emissions reductions that have been delivered through the Iron Mains Risk Reduction Programme and those that will be saved in the years to come as the networks continue to build a network fit for the
future. It will identify the climate change benefits that could be delivered through accelerating the Programme.

This work will be completed in May.

Deliverable 1.3 - Developing the pathway to net zero

Through Gas Goes Green, the gas networks have a plan to go green and deliver the pathway to net zero. Building on existing work, the networks will develop a timeline for when policy and investment is needed and the steps towards delivering net zero
that this will unlock.

This work will assess the changing mix of gas supply and demand volumes (or energy requirements), locations and regional profiles, regulation and funding required to develop clusters and zones. Cost implications will also be assessed.

This report will be published in October.

Deliverable 1.4 - Local, regional and national pathways studies

The Pathways to Net Zero report established high level pathways for achieving net zero emissions for buildings, transport, industry and power across the whole of Great Britain. Building on this learning, Gas Goes Green will take forward various projects to understand more about the opportunities in particular sectors and geographies, and potential impacts. The wider energy industry and stakeholders will be engaged throughout. Several pathways studies are planned for 2020, namely:

  • Scottish Pathways - Gas Goes Green will undertake a pathways study to evaluate the key policy and regulatory enablers for decarbonising the gas networks and their customers in Scotland. Scotland has distinct opportunities for producing and using low carbon gases and ambitious greenhouse gas emissions targets of 75% by 2030 and net zero by 2045. Options for accelerating gas network projects in different areas of Scotland will be considered with the emissions reductions and other benefits for Scotland and for the UK as a whole being quantified.
  • Welsh Pathways -  Wales also has distinct opportunities and Gas Goes Green will work with stakeholders to develop a detailed, regionalised pathway for the whole of Wales that is consistent with Welsh Government energy and decarbonisation ambitions, objectives and targets. There is potential for Wales to drive decarbonisation through use of hydrogen in transport, heat and industry, and through use of biomethane. The role of hybrid heating systems in reducing demand of gas and providing energy system balancing will also be considered.
  • Greater Manchester Pathways - As well as devolved administrations, county and combined authorities are also progressing pathways studies to determine the steps required to achieve net zero emissions. Hundreds of local authorities have declared climate emergencies and Gas Goes Green can help deliver the greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed to meet the challenge of climate change. Studies such as the Manchester North West Pathways that will be undertaken during 2020 need to meet local decarbonisation targets but they must also be developed in a way that ensures national energy system decarbonisation and resilience is taken into consideration.

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