Thames Estuary Growth Board, Cadent, SGN and NGGT join forces to advance the hydrogen agenda

future of energy

The Thames Estuary Growth Board, supported by Ikigai Capital, have formed a partnership with Cadent, SGN and National Grid Gas Transmission (NGGT) to investigate the development of hydrogen infrastructure in South East England.

The Thames Estuary Growth Board launched its Hydrogen Route Map and Investment Plan in October 2021, which highlighted the potential benefits of developing a hydrogen ecosystem in the Thames Estuary. The analysis concluded that investment into the hydrogen value chain could support 9,000 jobs and unlock £3.8 billion Gross Value Added by 2035.

In parallel, Cadent, SGN and NGGT, which together are responsible for delivering gas across most of Great Britain, have recently commissioned the Capital Hydrogen feasibility study. The study is being supported by ERM and Element Energy (an ERM Group company) and will consider the role of the gas grid in delivering low-carbon hydrogen across Greater London and the South East. The Capital Hydrogen study will encompass six case studies, which will leverage existing expertise and look at how the gas grid can play a role in the distribution of hydrogen both via blending in the existing network and working towards the delivery of 100% hydrogen via dedicated infrastructure.

The two groups have now joined forces to work collaboratively, to share information and lessons learned, with the mutual aim of attracting investment across the hydrogen ecosystem. There will be a particular focus on the ‘East London’ hydrogen cluster identified in the Thames Estuary Growth Board’s Hydrogen Route Map, as one of the six proposed case studies in the Capital Hydrogen project.  

This partnership will jointly identify the optimal hydrogen network infrastructure route, design, upgrading, phasing and ancillary investment required to distribute hydrogen produced in or imported into the Thames Estuary to various sources of demand in the East London cluster. This will cover optimal uses of hydrogen in industry, transport (public, heavy-duty road and marine), back-up power, and domestic heating. The organisations will also explore opportunities on the southern bank of the Thames, building on SGN’s plans for a new 100% hydrogen pipeline linked to low carbon hydrogen production in the Isle of Grain.

Kate Willard OBE, Estuary Envoy and Chair of the Thames Estuary Growth Board, said: “It is becoming evident that delivering on the hydrogen agenda both at a regional but also at a national level, requires co-operation amongst different stakeholders. The Thames Estuary Growth Board recognises the important role of the gas grid in providing efficient distribution solutions from production at scale, which will facilitate the adoption of low-carbon hydrogen amongst end users.

“We are excited to work with Cadent, SGN and NGGT to deliver a south east hydrogen ecosystem. This partnership will help us meet our goals and objectives, attracting investment into the Thames Estuary, which in turn will stimulate green growth and levelling up across the region.”

Sally Brewis, Head of Regional Development (East and London, Cadent) said: “Through our Capital Hydrogen feasibility study, Cadent, SGN and National Grid Gas Transmission are working together to deliver a vision for the transition of London’s gas networks to low carbon hydrogen. As part of this, we’re extremely pleased to be working so closely with the Thames Estuary Growth Board, building on their Hydrogen Route Map and our work on hydrogen pipeline networks. With our collective skills and expertise, we plan to accelerate new and existing opportunities, stimulating early hydrogen deployment in the region. The UK government recently announced its ambition to deliver 10GW of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030. This is equivalent to the amount of natural gas consumed by over 6 million households in the UK each year. The target is therefore an essential part of the UK’s wider strategy to meet the country’s net zero commitments."

The Thames Estuary Growth Board, Cadent, SGN and NGGT are aligned with the UK’s hydrogen strategy, and strongly believe this partnership will take the country one step closer to achieving its Net Zero targets.
Thames Estuary Growth Board
The Thames Estuary is the UK’s biggest growth opportunity, with the potential to add £190bn GVA and create 1.3m jobs.

Kate Willard OBE was appointed by the Government to lead a dedicated Thames Estuary Growth Board. The Board set out its ‘Green Blue’ vision in July 2020 to realise the amazing potential of the Thames Estuary. It is called ‘The Green Blue’ because the Board aims to create good, green growth using the blue waterway of the Thames.

In July 2021, the Board launched the ‘Green Blue Workplan’, which outlines what the Board will do to deliver the ‘Green Blue’ vision, mapping out focus areas for development in the region and key performance indicators.
The Board’s priorities include building an Estuary-wide hydrogen ecosystem to turbo-charge the Government’s hydrogen and net zero ambitions; utilise the Thames Freeport to attract inward investment, boost the national economy, and unlock green initiatives; invest in transport infrastructure developments, as well as utilising the river for both freight and passengers to ease congestion and reduce pollution on the region’s roads.
To read the Thames Estuary Growth Board’s Hydrogen Route Map, please visit:    
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Ikigai Capital
Ikigai Capital is a Net Zero bankability consultancy focused on clusters, cities, and industrial decarbonisation. They bridge the gap between investors, tech, demand, and Government to unlock capital investment for sustainable and inclusive regional growth. 

SGN manages the network that distributes natural and green gas to 5.9 million homes and businesses across the south of England and Scotland. Our pipes deliver gas safely, reliably and efficiently to every one of our customers.

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National Grid
We own and operate the high-pressure gas transmission network in Great Britain, which contains 7,630km of high-pressure pipelines, 68 gas compressors and more than 500 above-ground installations. We are responsible for making sure the country’s gas is transported safely and efficiently from where it is produced to where it is consumed. As the Gas System Operator, we are responsible for ensuring that supply and demand are balanced in real time, day to day.
ERM is the largest global pure-play sustainability consultancy with over 5,500 experts working on sustainability challenges globally. ERM is at the forefront of blue and green hydrogen and a leader in the evaluation of hydrogen as a sustainable fuel and energy vector for decarbonising heat, power and transportation with our projects related to hydrogen production facilities, storage and pipelines. ​ERM has extensive experience in supporting companies and governments to design and implement bold energy transition strategies.
Element Energy (an ERM Group company)
Element Energy, founded in 2003, provides integrated solutions to help clients deploy low-carbon technologies and supporting systems on a large scale. The company drives the development, commercialization and deployment of emerging low-carbon technologies, often for the first time, through its work with organizations, and its leadership role in international research and development consortia.


Cadent is the UK’s largest gas distribution network with a 200-year legacy.  We are in a unique position to build on strong foundations whilst encouraging the curiosity to think differently and the courage to embrace change.  Day to day we continue to operate, maintain and innovate the UK’s largest gas network, transporting gas safely and protecting people in an emergency.   Our skilled engineers and specialists remain committed to the communities we serve, working day and night to ensure gas reaches 11 million homes from Cumbria to North London and the Welsh Borders to East Anglia, to keep your energy flowing. 

Future of Gas: Here at Cadent we support the Government’s plans to reach Net Zero by 2050. That means we’re backing the introduction of hydrogen as a low carbon alternative to natural gas for the future. We know people love the controllability of gas and, with our network already in place, it makes sense to switch to the lower carbon alternative offered by hydrogen, which we believe can keep homes and businesses warm for generations to come.

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