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Pump-prime Britain’s hydrogen revolution with new grid target, says new report

21 September 2020

Introducing a new hydrogen target and mixing more hydrogen into the gas that is currently pumped into homes across the country would reduce carbon emissions by six million tons a year.


The Government must introduce a new hydrogen target for Britain’s gas grids to start turning the country’s zero-carbon hydrogen ambitions into a reality, a major new report says today.

Published by Cadent as part of Energy Networks Association’s (ENA) Gas Goes Green programme, the Frontier Economics report sets out the changes that need to be made for gas network companies to start blending large quantities of clean hydrogen with existing methane fossil gas in Britain’s network of 284,000km gas pipelines.

With the technical and safety case for hydrogen blending now being demonstrated by the world-leading HyDeploy project, household cookers and gas boilers are already capable of managing a gas mix of up to 20% of hydrogen without an impact on the way people use those appliances.

At present, network companies are allowed to blend up to just 0.1% mix of hydrogen in the gas grid, but if a 20% hydrogen blend was rolled out across the country it could save around 6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year, the equivalent of taking 2.5 million cars off the road.

The report concludes that setting a target date for new large-scale hydrogen production plants to connect to the gas network will help stimulate demand for hydrogen production, pump-priming investment in a hydrogen economy and keeping Britain on course to build the world’s first zero-carbon gas grid.

ENA research shows that if investment into zero carbon hydrogen infrastructure began today, then the country would be a net beneficiary of that investment five years ahead of its 2050 net-zero carbon emissions target, saving bill payers £89bn in the process.

The report sets out:

  • The next steps that need to be taken by the UK Government, Ofgem, regulators and the industry to turn that blending into a reality, including a government target date for the connection of the first hydrogen production plant to the gas grid to help get projects off the ground, changing regulations to ensure that people’s energy bills are calculated accurately when using different types of gas and making hydrogen blending a funding priority for the Ofgem Strategic Innovation Fund.
  • How only a limited number of technical changes need to take place to the way that Britain’s gas networks work to enable hydrogen blending. These include deciding on the mechanism that gas networks will use to keep the blend of hydrogen in the grid within agreed limits and ensuring that there is a ‘level playing field’ for hydrogen production plant connections.
  • A clear, phased ‘roadmap’ that will both enable early hydrogen producers to connect to gas networks and establish a clear, standardised framework as easily as possible, as the market for hydrogen production grows.

Chris Train, Energy Networks Association's Gas Goes Green champion, says:

“If the Government is serious about hydrogen, then it needs to ensure that it is also thinking about how we deliver it. That’s where Britain’s world-leading gas networks come in. This report clearly demonstrates we’ve got the know-how and the expertise to start safely blending large quantities of hydrogen into Britain’s gas grid. That will help drive demand for production, pump-priming investment in building the hydrogen economy we all need to achieve Net Zero.”

Angie Needle, Strategy Director at Cadent, added:

“The Committee on Climate Change has said that for hydrogen to be a viable green energy option for the future, hydrogen projects will need to get off the ground in the 2020s.  If that’s going to happen, government support with regulatory change and a clear statement on direction will really be needed right now to enable all the preparatory work for this shift to start.”

Jacob Young MP, Chair for the All-Party Group on Hydrogen, says:

“I’m delighted to see this important report on hydrogen blending has been published by Cadent. Hydrogen has the potential to play a major role in the UK’s economic recovery from COVID-19, and offers a compelling pathway towards supporting the decarbonisation of heating, transport and industrial processes. However to play that role, it is now more important than ever for hydrogen production to be ramped up – and the commercial framework for hydrogen blending outlined in Cadent’s report offers a really good way to achieve that.

“Building a world-leading hydrogen economy will have massive positive benefits for constituencies - like my own in Teesside - creating high-skilled jobs, driving economic growth and improving the environment. Cadent’s report is another step on the journey towards that hydrogen economy, and I am happy to support it.”


Hydrogen Blending Commercial Framework - Frontier report


Notes to editor

Cadent is the UK’s largest gas distribution network with a 200-year legacy.  We are in a unique position to build on strong foundations whilst encouraging the curiosity to think differently and the courage to embrace change.  Day to day we continue to operate, maintain and innovate the UK’s largest gas network, transporting gas safely and protecting people in an emergency.   Our skilled engineers and specialists remain committed to the communities we serve, working day and night to ensure gas reaches 11 million homes from Cumbria to North London and the Welsh Borders to East Anglia, to keep your energy flowing. 

Cadent manages the national gas emergency service free phone line on behalf of the gas industry - 0800 111 999*

Cadent Gas Ltd is owned by a consortium of global investors.

About us

Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the energy networks. Our members include every major electricity network operator in the UK. The electricity networks are at the heart of the energy transition. They directly employ more than 26,000 people in the UK, including 1,500 apprentices. They are spending and investing £33bn in our electricity grids over the coming years, to ensure safe, reliable and secure energy supplies for the millions of homes and businesses reliant on power every day.

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