Boosting biomethane production is key part of Gas Goes Green plan

The Energy Networks Association (ENA) has published the programme for its Gas Goes Green programme for the rest of the year, highlighting the crucial role biomethane will play in decarbonising the gas network.

The Gas Goes Green Pathway to Net Zero is the response of the UK's five gas network companies - Cadent, Northern Gas Networks, SGN, Wales & West Utilities, and National Grid - to the need to replace the natural gas that 85% of the UK’s homes rely on for their heating, hot water, and cooking, with a greener alternative.

The programme is making the necessary changes to convert the UK’s £24 billion (€28 billion) of gas network infrastructure to run on hydrogen and biomethane instead, helping to support green jobs and investment in industry and offices nationwide.

As the programme progresses through the first planning and research step of its six-step pathway, it will also begin the work on its second step, facilitating the connection of more green gas. Highlights of this year’s activity include:

  • Detailed plans for how gas networks will deliver Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s target of blending up to 20% hydrogen into the UK’s gas network from 2023, so UK homes can reduce their carbon emissions by the equivalent of 2.5 million cars per year – all without changing their household appliances.

  • Putting in place the right licensing arrangements to build the infrastructure needed for the use of hydrogen in the UK’s industrial heartlands, supporting energy-intensive industries as they decarbonise. Using hydrogen to decarbonise industry could create 43,000 UK jobs by 2050, according to research by consultants Element Energy.

  • Boosting UK biomethane production, creating new green gas markets for farmers and other biomethane producers, by finding ways to convert existing biogas power plants to inject biomethane into the gas grid instead – as well as streamlining the gas grid connection process for biomethane and hydrogen. Biomethane alone could deliver a 6% reduction in the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and provide heating for 6.4 million homes.

“With high ambitions ahead of COP26 later this year, it has never been truer to say that tomorrow’s heat is today’s opportunity,” said Chris Train OBE, the ENA’s Green Gas Champion.

“These plans set out how the UK’s gas networks can reduce carbon emissions from UK homes through the work they are delivering, and the exciting opportunities that lie ahead of us as we take the next steps on that journey.”

Dr Jonathan Scurlock, chief adviser of renewable energy and climate change at the National Farmers’ Union, commented: “Our farmer and grower members welcome the opportunity to provide more low-carbon gas to heat UK homes and businesses, increasing our contribution to the national net-zero goal.

“Overcoming regulatory barriers to bring down connection costs and network constraints will be key to achieving this.”

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