Damien Hawke, our Director of Future Networks, explains why various options for decarbonisation need to be considered together, to maximise the benefits.
It was five months ago, in the final days of Theresa May’s government, that the UK announced its plans to build a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.
Whilst this has been a turbulent time politically, the efforts of business and the energy networks to address this challenge have continued, and I was encouraged to see the announcement from the Conservative party regarding £800m in infrastructure funding for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) solutions, a vital part of the UK’s future decarbonisation efforts.
With the urgency of climate change, we know that the energy system must radically change to enable this transition to a zero-carbon future. Various options for large-scale decarbonisation, such as electrification and hydrogen, will need to be considered together, in order to maximise the benefits of our existing infrastructure, and making best use of new solutions.
The strategically important gas and electricity networks span the UK and deliver heat and energy to the majority of people living here. If policy-makers took a whole-system approach, understanding there are elements of future energy policy that can't be delivered by electricity or gas alone, then innovative solutions delivering the level of carbon reduction we need could be found at a cost-effective price.
There is already evidence of this whole-system approach taking place at a regional level. Liverpool city region have announced ambitious plans for world-leading carbon capture technology alongside smarter, greener travel with the introduction of a hydrogen bus fleet coming early next year. The mayor has also submitted a £230m green deal proposal to government which, if supported, could deliver a £5bn economic boost to the region along with green jobs, improved air quality and cheap-to-warm homes.
In everything we do, we put customers first and we attempt to demonstrate to government how we can support its objectives regarding the environment, energy policy, fuel poverty and economic growth. As we continue to develop a collaborative approach, our hope is that future governments’ share this approach in order to deliver the net zero future we are all working towards.