By transitioning to deliver hydrogen, Britain's gas networks have huge potential to deliver green investment around the country. Gus McIntosh, Director of Energy Futures, SGN writes.
Using hydrogen in our homes doesn’t just mean reducing our carbon emissions from heating, hot water and cooking – it also means that gas network companies will be able to invest in communities around the country, helping deliver new low carbon infrastructure and green jobs.
Here’s three reasons how Britain’s Hydrogen Network Plan can help do that:
1. By using the footprint of our gas networks
Creating a world-leading hydrogen economy could help deliver over 200,000 jobs to the UK economy by the time we reach our net zero target in 2050.
With 85% of Britain’s homes connected to the gas grid, we have one of the most extensive and efficient gas networks in the world. With that footprint, we can ensure our investment as an industry is spread right across the country.
We have another role too, acting as a platform for new technologies like hydrogen production, storage and export. Britain’s Hydrogen Network Plan seeks to ensure that producers can connect to the gas grid quickly and easily, helping create new jobs in these areas.
That’s why gas networks’ plans to deliver on the Prime Minister’s ambition to create the first hydrogen neighbourhood, village and town by 2030, as set out in Britain’s Hydrogen Network Plan, are particularly exciting.
2. By investing in hydrogen-ready infrastructure today
Some of the work to prepare our networks has already begun. Gas network companies have been investing in a 30 year programme, replacing old iron mains pipes with new, hydrogen-ready plastic pipes since 2002. So far we’ve replaced almost two-thirds – or 60,000km - of local gas pipes already, enough piping to go one and half times around the world.
With the right funding agreed by the regulator, this work alone could see £28bn investment delivered into communities around the country by 2032, when the programme is due to complete.
3. By using our innovation projects to create new opportunities
Innovation projects have a vital role to play. From the Moray Firth to the edge of the Solent, gas network companies have proposed over £900m of investment in research projects around the country that will tackle challenges and exploit the opportunities before us, creating new green jobs in cutting edge research that could be exported around the world. We are also playing a role in delivering £1.5bn of funding in industrial decarbonisation projects around the country.
Britain’s Hydrogen Network Plan sets out how all of this work will come together – and ensure that a hydrogen-fuelled future doesn’t just ensure we play our part in tackling the climate emergency, but delivers a lasting economic legacy too.
About Energy Networks Association
We’re the industry body for the energy networks. Our members own and operate the wires and pipes which carry electricity and gas into your community, supporting our economy. The wires and pipes are the arteries of our economy, delivering energy to over 30 million homes and businesses across the UK and Ireland. To do this safely and reliably, the businesses which run the networks employ 45,000 people and have spent and invested over £60 billion in the last eight years.