The UK’s hydrogen transition must comply with global gold-standard sustainability benchmarks, say GB gas network companies. The call comes ahead of World Environment Day on Saturday 5 June.
The companies responsible for building the UK’s hydrogen economy should do so in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), all five of Britain’s gas network companies have said today, as they published a new joint commitment to them.
The call comes as industry awaits the publication of the UK Government’s Hydrogen Strategy, which will set out how the country will build the foundations for a hydrogen economy to reach the country’s 2050 Net Zero target.
Many experts see hydrogen as an adaptable alternative to fossil fuels. When hydrogen is burned it produces no greenhouse gases. Hydrogen blended with natural gas also has the potential to be delivered and used in the same way as natural gas, reducing carbon emissions. If a 20% hydrogen blend were 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.
Published as part of Energy Networks Association’s Gas Goes Green programme, ‘A Joint Commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals’ sets out how the companies are fulfilling their shared commitments to delivering the SDGs, as they manage 284,000km of gas pipelines that supply energy to 85% of homes across Great Britain.
The report includes 2021 commitments from the companies to:
- Reduce fuel poverty amongst their customers, by supporting them in accessing affordable energy (SDG 7 – Affordable & Clean Energy)
- Continue to work towards ensuring their organisations better reflect the communities they serve (SDG 8 – Decent Work & Economic Growth).
- Reduce waste and support sustainable consumption across their businesses and supply chains, working towards a truly ‘less but better’ circular economy (SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption & Production).
- Work towards the UK’s goal of Net Zero by 2050, including through the Gas Goes Green programme and gas network innovation projects (SDG 13 – Climate Action).
- Transition to low carbon vehicles fleets and help drive the decarbonisation of freight and heavy transport (SDG 13 – Climate Action).
Commenting, Energy Networks Association's Gas Goes Green champion, Chris Train says:
“For the companies who will deliver the UK’s hydrogen economy, the UN Sustainable Development Goals provide the ethical backbone for how they go about that.
“Converting our safe and reliable gas network to green gases like hydrogen and biomethane will not only reduce our carbon emissions, it will also help build a more sustainable and responsible energy system, both for the people we serve and the people we employ. Today’s report sets out the steps the UKs gas networks will take to do that.”
About Energy Networks Association
Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the companies which operate 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 Grid 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 45,000 people in the UK and Ireland. They are represented by their industry body, Energy Networks Association (that's us).
Energy supplier or network operator? Energy network operators are entirely separate to your energy supplier, which is the company that bills you for using electricity and gas. Energy suppliers and generators are represented by Energy UK.