UK’s gas networks call for £900m investment into zero-carbon infrastructure
28th May 2020 | Commercial Energy
Britain’s five gas networks companies have today outlined plans to spend more than £900m on zero-carbon energy infrastructure and hydrogen deployment across the UK, subject to Government approval on funding. Cadent, National Grid, NGN, SGN and Wales & West Utilities have today (28 May) a Zero Carbon Commitment package, calling for £904m in investment to spur the UK’s economic recovery from the COVI-19 crisis while helping the UK reach its net-zero target.
If approved, the spending would focus on projects across Britain between 2021 and 2026, under the RIIO-2 price control. The gas networks claim that spending could help the UK use “blue hydrogen” developed from carbon capture and storage projects, and “green hydrogen” from renewable electricity – with the latter becoming cost-competitive by 2030. Under the plan, £336m would be spent on new network infrastructure for the industrial use of hydrogen, including a £391m investment for carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) projects in the north-west of England, Aberdeenshire and the Isle of Grain.
A further £264m would be spent on projects to expand the capacity of local gas networks by connecting hydrogen and bio-methane generation projects and transport refuelling stations. £150m would be used to run large-scale trials for domestic use of hydrogen heating, cooking and transportation and how these are connected to the gas grid.
Finally, £43m would be spent to research blending more zero-carbon hydrogen with the natural gas currently used in the UK’s gas networks. Ofgem is due to make a decision on gas network investment in July.
The call for funding comes as the Energy Networks Association (ENA) releases new research claiming that £182bn could be invested to make hydrogen cost-competitive with the current natural gas-based system. Doing so, the report states, would reduce energy system costs to the UK public by £89bn by 2050.
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