The Government is rumoured to be considering reigniting a multi-billion pound plan to reimagine Britain’s gas grid for hydrogen use, in an ambitious attempt to crack down on harmful carbon emissions.
According to a report in The Telegraph, the £50 billion strategy, which was previously shelved by Ministers, could be reignited “within weeks” following the publication of several illuminating new studies.
The news comes after an interesting report published by accountancy firm KPMG in recent days estimated that converting the UK’s gas grid to be hydrogen-compatible could prove to be up to £200 billion cheaper than rewiring British homes to be compatible with green electric heating.
KPMG says that the move itself would require only “minor” upgrades to the grid, which was reportedly originally designed with hydrogen in mind prior to the 1960s.
It adds that “town gas” or natural gas, which has been used to heat homes in England and Wales since the late 1960s and early 1970s, is itself made up of large quantities of hydrogen coupled with carbon monoxide and methane.
Meanwhile, separate research has found that a move to an all-hydrogen gas grid could potentially cut carbon emissions from consumer heating by more than 70 per cent across England and Wales.
A report in The Telegraph adds that the move would also prove “the least hassle” for energy consumers, as it is unlikely that most typical household appliances – such as radiators, gas hobs and cookers – would need to be replaced in order to handle the change.
Despite this, however, such a move would still cost the economy some £50 billion and would add approximately £170 to consumer gas bills every year between now and 2050.
In Yorkshire, trials for a full switch to hydrogen heating are already underway – with Northern Gas Networks hoping to transform Leeds into a hydrogen-only city by the late 2020s.
On a wider scale, the Government is yet to issue a statement regarding when exactly its rumoured ‘hydrogen strategy’ will be published, and what this strategy might contain.