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Policy Connect and Carbon Connect publish research setting out future options for heating homes and businesses

Policy Connect and Carbon Connect publish research setting out future options for heating homes and businesses

12th September 2017

Cross-party inquiry into the future of the gas grid, chaired by Shadow Energy Minister Alan Whitehead MP, Conservative MP James Heappey, and former SNP energy spokesperson Callum McCaig, is published.

A report published by think tank Policy Connect and forum Carbon Connect, in collaboration with a cross-party group of politicians and the energy sector, has set out the next steps for the gas grid, exploring its potential to deliver affordable, low carbon energy to UK consumers in the future.

Next Steps for the Gas Grid, led by cross-party energy policy research forum Carbon Connect, argues that the gas grid could play a useful role in the UK’s transition to a low carbon energy system through the widespread use of low carbon gas. The report calls on Government to support the transition to a more flexible gas grid that uses various forms of gas, including low carbon gases such as hydrogen and biomethane.

James Heappey MP, Alan Whitehead MP and former MP Callum McCaig have praised the value of this research:

“This report provides an extremely useful guide to the opportunities and challenges associated with low carbon gas and the gas grid. It will help inform the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy.”

The report, authored by researchers at the cross-party think-tank Policy Connect, is published ahead of the Government’s Clean Growth Plan – a powerful policy paper which will set the UK’s future strategy for energy and climate change.

Mitya Pearson, energy policy specialist at Policy Connect who co-authored the report, commented upon the importance of this inquiry to Government energy policy:

“Heat for buildings alone accounts for around 40% of our energy consumption. The emissions associated with this will need to fall to almost zero by 2050 if we are to meet our legally-binding climate change targets.

Converting our gas grid to low carbon gases such as hydrogen and biomethane is widely seen as anoption to achieve this. In the short term we should continue to support the deployment of biomethane as well as exploring solutions such as bioSNG and blending small amounts of hydrogen in the gas grid. The longer term idea of a widespread changeover from natural gas to 100% hydrogen requires demonstration projects to fully understand the costs and implications.

The increased use of low carbon gas, as with the widespread the rollout of all low carbon heating solutions, will throw up important political questions such as how to pay for this. Our report points to answers in this area but there is an urgent need for politicians to engage on the challenges associated with such a transition.”