The UK Government must set out incentives and boost investment to end dependency on natural gas.
That’s the verdict from independent think-tank Bright Blue, which argues deeper decarbonisation of UK gas is essential if the country is to meet future emissions reduction targets.
It calls for a low carbon gas obligation for suppliers to be established in the next price control framework to require them to deliver a steadily increasing proportion of low carbon gases such as biomethane, bio-synthetic natural gas and hydrogen.
It also suggests funding should be increased to encourage Gas Distribution Network Operators to invest in delivering low carbon gas infrastructure and installing smart pressure controls to optimise its distribution.
The report calls for the Gas Safety Management Regulations and the Gas Calculation of Thermal Energy Regulations to be amended to enable a higher proportion of low carbon gases to flow in the gas network.
Bright Blue says the method of calculating Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) should be changed to use temperature sensing equipment to determine thermal mass rather than a smart meter and urges the government to raise the requirement for domestic gas boilers to be 95% efficient, up from 92%.
Finally, it recommends the establishment of a new district heat network regulatory unit within Ofgem, dedicated to overseeing the regulation of district heat networks and to develop suitable price controls for district heat networks.
Wilf Lytton, Senior Researcher at Bright Blue and co-author of the report, said: “UK gas must be completely decarbonised during the coming three decades if this country is to meet its current and likely future legal emissions reduction target.
“Now, with time running out, the government and Ofgem should approach the task of decarbonising gas with the same fervour as it has applied to delivering low carbon and affordable electricity.”
Claire Perry MP, Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, said: “I welcome this thought-provoking work from Bright Blue.
“Hydrogen and biomethane can help deliver serious climate action through our existing infrastructure, keeping consumers on board and maintaining the flexibility and resilience provided by the gas system.”