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Britain’s cow dung to help heat 750,000 homes this winter

25 November 2021


Britain’s cow-dung, left-over food and household sewage will produce enough green gas to heat over three-quarters of a million homes this winter, new data released today shows.

Released by Energy Networks Association (ENA) as part of its first ever annual Britain’s Green Gas Scoreboard, the data shows that enough biomethane green gas is now being produced to supply 770,654 homes, whilst also supporting greener electricity production by displacing natural gas.

This is more than all the households in the UK’s second and third largest cities, Birmingham (425,043) and Leeds (301,614), combined.

The gas is produced from animal, crop and food waste, sewage plants and other sites, providing green energy that is injected into Britain’s gas grid. As well as being used for home heating and in industry, it is also used to generate electricity, keeping Britain’s lights on in a greener way during the long, dark winter nights.

Britain’s Green Gas Scoreboard, pubished on ENA's website, also shows that:

  • A total of 109 biomethane green gas production sites are now connected to Britain’s gas grid, with developers now building a further 23 sites across the country. In 2011, only 1 site was connected to the gas grid.
  • Green gas produced:
    • From food waste, thrown-out by food processing sites and restaurants, is providing enough biomethane to heat 211,552 homes, almost the same number of homes as in Edinburgh (233,369).
    • From farm waste, such as cow dung, is providing enough biomethane to heat 83,100 homes, the same number of homes in York (83,552).
    • From crop waste, left over from the harvesting of crop such as wheat, barley and maize, is providing enough biomethane to heat 151,109 homes, more than the number of households in Cardiff (142,600).
    • From sewage plants is providing enough biomethane to heat 128,442 homes, more than the number of homes in Newcastle (119,000).
  • 181 ‘flexible generation’ gas power plants are now connected to the gas grid, and are designed to support local wind and solar farm developments by providing electricity for those times when the sun isn't shining, and wind isn't blowing and are planned to be converted to run on hydrogen under the Gas Goes Green Pathway.
  • 74% of Britain’s local gas pipes have now been upgraded so they are ‘hydrogen-ready’, to help ensure homes will have a choice of different green heating technologies to reduce their carbon emissions, including hydrogen-ready boilers.

Commenting, David Smith, Chief Executive of ENA, says:

“Homegrown, locally-produced green gas is a great way of reducing emissions from our heat and electricity production, especially when it comes to keeping Britain’s homes warm and lights on during the long, cold winter nights.

“These figures show how cow-dung from our farms, left-over food from our restaurants and sewage from our water treatment plants have a huge role to play in reducing the carbon emissions from our towns, villages and communities, all whilst providing them with secure energy supplies.”

Press contacts for journalists

Peter Kocen

Senior Press and Public Affairs Manager

+44 (0)20 4599 7665

ENA Press Office


About Energy Networks Association

Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the electricity wires, gas pipes and energy system in the UK and Ireland.

ENA helps its members meet the challenge of delivering electricity and gas to communities across the UK and Ireland safely, sustainably and reliably.

Its members include every major electricity and gas network operator in the UK and Ireland, independent operators, National Grid ESO which operates the electricity system in Great Britain and National Gas which operates the gas system in Great Britain. Its affiliate membership also includes companies with an interest in energy, including Heathrow Airport and Network Rail.

What are energy network operators?

Energy network operators manage and maintain the wires, pipes and other infrastructure which delivers electricity and gas to your home, business and community. They are private companies which are regulated by Ofgem and employ around 40,000 people in Great Britain.

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