The National Grid has outlined its long term vision for low carbon gas in the UK in a report released on Friday.
The UK grid operator has asked for ‘national policy clarity’ in order to support the industry and promote clean growth. The Future of Gas report highlights how gas could be used to provide low carbon heat, transport and industry if clear policies are outlined. It asks for the government to provide direction so gas can “play a crucial role for many decades to come” by decarbonising infrastructure so it can adhere to the nation’s environmental targets.
The National Grid claims that out of all generation sources within the energy mix, gas is in need of the most attention if it is to help improve air quality and meet climate change targets in a cost effective way. However, to help achieve these goals, low-carbon gas technology must be implemented across the country which would require significant investment.
Eight in 10 homes use gas for heating, while natural gas provides over 40% of UK electricity; creating a third of the nation’s carbon emissions.
The Future of Gas report details how carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS), hydrogen and biogases could be the answer to moving away from damaging fossil fuels but also warns that "the ability to keep options open is key".
In the report the Grid calls for industry, government and regulators to work together to help ‘remove the policy gaps and barriers to decarbonising gas’. To help with this, the report outlines the need for an overseeing body to carry out an analysis of potential options, with the aim of concluding a plan by the early 2020’s.
If the UK is to implement an effective low-carbon gas strategy then CCUS will be ‘vital’ according to the report which calls for the government to earmark projects as early as next year, which will benefit from the £100m carbon capture funding which was promised last year.
CCUS can capture and store emissions created from natural gas and biofuel sources, while producing low carbon hydrogen which can be used to provide heating and fuel for vehicles.