A new independent report from Imperial College has highlighted the important role that the UK’s gas networks can play in decarbonising heat demand to meet targets set by the Paris Agreement.

The Energy Networks Association (ENA) represents the ‘wire and pipes’ transmission and distribution network operators for gas and electricity in the UK and Ireland.

"The use of green gas, including hydrogen, in the gas network is an area of exciting potential being explored by Gas Distribution Network companies. Alongside other forms of green gas, hydrogen could play a role in decarbonising heat demand, whilst making efficient use of existing network infrastructure which currently serves 85% of buildings,” said Tony Glover, director of policy at the Energy Networks Association, the trade body for gas and electricity network operators in the UK and Ireland.

Through innovation funding mechanisms established by Ofgem, gas distribution networks have explored a number of other sources of renewable gas to determine their potential for use in the UK network and to identify commercial and regulatory barriers to growth.

“This latest report demonstrates that, whilst there is no ‘silver bullet’ to meeting our decarbonisation challenge, the gas networks will play a crucial role in ensuring security and affordability in a sustainable energy future,” Glover added.

There are a number of sources of green gas which are carbon neutral and could therefore contribute to meeting peak heat demand whilst lowering carbon emissions and making use of existing gas infrastructure in a way which is cost effective.