As someone with a life-long interest in the environment and a career working in the energy sector, I was delighted to read the latest report from the Committee on Climate Change which was published today. There is a great deal of sense in the report - ‘Reducing UK emissions: 2020 Progress Report to Parliament – and the recommendations it makes particularly for ‘investments in low-carbon and climate-resilient infrastructure’, received overwhelming support from me and my colleagues at Cadent this morning:
The Covid 19 pandemic has, as many people have said, provided a new example of how things can be done quickly if government puts its mind to it and brings people with it. The CCC is right to ask for this same clear focus as we ramp up our response to the climate challenge because, make no mistake, it is just as serious, if not more so.
It is particularly gratifying to see the CCC calling for a funding mechanism for hydrogen infrastructure; for a hydrogen policy package; for large scale hydrogen trials; the need for flexibility and multiple approaches; hydrogen for peak and hybrid systems and of course an urgency for policy as we prepare for COP 26. We are very keen to support all of these ambitions.
The area where Cadent can contribute most and most quickly is energy networks. The report says ‘Low-carbon hydrogen is critical to achieving Net Zero and needs to be deployed at scale during the 2020s. Given the potential of the fuel across multiple sectors, a cross-cutting vision and strategy for a hydrogen economy will be required from Government, with production and use starting from the early 2020s. Risk sharing mechanisms for the first users and producers of low-carbon hydrogen are likely to be required, in order to develop a market for low-carbon hydrogen.’
We agree – both the electricity sector and the gas sector have carbon reducing innovations ready to implement right now. In our case, the approach proved by HyDeploy at Keele University, a real-life trial in which 100 households have been safely using a blend of 20% hydrogen and 80% natural gas for heating and cooking, is technology that could be adopted across most of the UK as quickly as the electricity innovations, bringing with it an estimated CO2 reduction of 6m tonnes, equivalent to taking 2.5m cars off the road, instantly. We know from our colleagues in the electricity sector that they also have innovations that are ready to go right now.
We are keen to help make all of this happen at the pace that’s required. We can support government in planning their joined-up hydrogen strategy; thinking through green gas production incentives; accelerating decarbonisation of industrial clusters through CCUS; and being involved in large scale pilots demonstrating what can be done and enabling rapid learning. We fully support the CCC in its efforts to move the UK forward in terms of addressing climate change and are ready to play our part with hydrogen and biomethane technologies as soon as we are given the go ahead. Let’s hope that comes soon.
Dr Angie Needle