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Green gas 'could deliver decarbonised heat to the UK'
Published:  07 July, 2016

The Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA) has responded to the annual Future Energy Scenarios (FES) publication from National Grid, and called for more to be done to decarbonise UK heating by directly injecting green gas into the national mains-gas grid.

Isaac Occhipinti, head of external affairs, said: “We welcome this report from National Grid as it acts as a catalyst to start a stimulating and thought provoking debate, using four possible energy scenarios. EUA recognises that decarbonisation will continue to drive the agenda, with heat and power being joined by the transport sector as a target to drive down emissions, while still maintaining security and affordability. We need a clear pathway to decarbonise heat, one which recognises that behavioural change and cost are integral factors to achieving the required outcomes.

"We believe that gas will remain the primary heating fuel beyond the 2040s. The fact that the gas grid currently delivers gas into the homes of over 85% of the UK population, coupled with the very large investment needed to change this, suggests that gas, albeit green gas will be a vital component of the UK's energy infrastructure for many years to come.

"The opportunity afforded by injecting green gas directly into the grid - whether biomethane, synthetic natural gas or hydrogen - will allow the gas grid to be decarbonised without homeowners needing to take action and with little additional investment."

The EUA also highlighted the government's recent adoption of the fifth carbon budget, which sets new and legally-binding emissions reduction targets for 2030. In order to achieve this, Mr Occhipinti said the industry needs a strong commitment and a robust policy framework in place.

"EUA and its divisions will continue to work with DECC to identify an action plan and also overcome the current challenges," he said, noting that the budget has suggested the existing Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs offer little help to tackle the upfront costs of installing renewable technologies.

"We also need to support the research and development of ‘mainstream’ green gas as a low carbon alternative fuel source. Injecting green gas directly into the gas grid is the best and most cost effective way of decarbonising heat. There is little appetite to simply abandon gas and start again with a new system, not to mention the enormous costs involved, so green gas, whether biogas, bioSNG or even hydrogen offers a very real solution to delivering seasonable heat demand in a low carbon way."

The EUA comprises six organisational divisions - Utility Networks, the Heating & Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC), the Industrial & Commercial Energy Association (ICOM), the Hot Water Association (HWA), the Manufacturers’ Association of Radiators and Convectors (MARC) and the Natural Gas Vehicles Network (NGV Network).