Britain’s energy networks have unveiled a major new ‘greenprint’ to deliver the world’s first Net Zero emissions gas network, in what will be a crucial step towards the UK meeting its Net Zero 2050 target.

The plans, which are outlined in Pathways to Net Zero published by market research and advisory house Navigant and reviewed by Imperial College, set out a detailed timeline to deliver a zero carbon gas grid with clear operational, regulatory and technical milestones.

The steps include supporting low carbon heating for 23 million homes and businesses by mandating “hydrogen-ready” boilers, with the plan setting out how it could save the country £13bn a year by 2050 by using Britain’s world-leading gas and electricity networks.

Further steps outlined in the plan include:

  • Introducing a comprehensive energy efficiency programme – helping to keep peoples’ homes warm and tackle fuel poverty
  • Increasing the volume of green gases, like bio-methane and hydrogen, in the energy system
  • Providing support for large-scale trials including Carbon Capture, Usage, and Storage
  • Kickstarting hydrogen production and smart hybrid heating systems
  • Changing gas safety, metering and billing regulations to allow hydrogen into the system

Energy network companies will deliver £45bn of investment through the current price control (2013-2023), worth almost £1,600 for each household in the country. Britain’s world-leading system of regulation has helped prepare gas and electricity networks to meet the challenge of Net Zero by ensuring a relentless focus on innovation to find new, cleaner ways to heat our homes, power our vehicles and light our streets.

David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association said: “We are facing a climate emergency and now is the time for action. Cutting emissions from heating has historically been complicated which is why I am delighted Navigant’s report shows the pathways we need to take to deliver low carbon heating for 23 million homes and businesses and getting us to Net Zero.

“The country should be proud of the innovation and engineering expertise that has led to Britain being a world-leader of renewable energy, including green gasses. It is now for government, the regulator and industry to build on that success and create the right policy and regulatory environment to attract the investment required to deliver the world’s first Net Zero emissions gas network for the public.”

Richard Bass, Director, Energy, Sustainability and Infrastructure at Navigant said: “To achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050, urgent action is required across all fronts and the gas networks must have a prominent role. Our analysis demonstrates that there are technically viable and cost effective pathways for low carbon and renewable gas to contribute to the decarbonisation of the GB energy system in combination with electrification, carbon capture and storage, and improvements For further information, please contact: in energy efficiency.”

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About Securing a Green Future

The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the role energy network companies have to play in tackling the climate emergency by providing the infrastructure needed to decarbonise our economy. Find out more at:

Fast facts about the role Britain’s energy networks are playing to decarbonise our economy:

  • A third of Britain’s electricity is now generated from renewable sources that have been connected to energy networks, helping reduce UK carbon emissions to their lowest level since 1888 (BEIS, CCC)
  • Britain’s local electricity grids have connected the equivalent of ten Hinkley Point C power plants in the last ten years – over 30GW in total (BEIS)
  • Nearly 100 green gas production plants are now connected across the country (ABDA) – green gas could be used to heat up to 15m homes by 2050 (Cadent)
  • The UK economy will need to spend between 1-2% of its total wealth each year to reach Net Zero by 2050 (CCC)
  • Great Britain could save up to £40bn by 2050 by creating a more innovative, flexible energy system (Imperial College)
  • Nearly £4,000 has been invested for every household in GB grid infrastructure in the country since privatisation in 1990 – £100bn in total (Ofgem)
  • Another £1,600 is being invested for every household right now, under the current price control (2013-2023) – £45bn in total (Ofgem)
  • Private investment helps bring down bills – electricity network costs have fallen by almost a fifth since privatisation whilst £100bn has been invested (Ofgem)

About Energy Networks Association (ENA)

Energy Networks Association represents the companies that are responsible for operating the ‘wires and pipes’ of Britain’s gas and electricity network infrastructure, serving over 30 million customers across the country.