Supply and demand of UK gas must be decarbonised “deeply” within the next three decades if the country is to hit current and future legal emissions targets, a think tank has warned.
In its report, Pressure in the Pipeline, Decarbonising the UK’s Gas, Bright Blue set out two pathways for the UK to pursue. These are to reduce the carbon intensity of supply by replacing natural gas with low carbon gases, along with reducing gas demand through improving the energy efficiency of buildings and gas appliances, as well as allowing fuel switching. It added that technological situations, such as electrification in the heating sector, will play a pivotal role in enabling both pathways.
Bright Blue made a series of policy recommendations, including having decarbonisation of UK gas a priority for Ofgem in the next price control framework from April 2021; increasing the requirement of domestic gas boilers to be 95% efficient; the establishment of a new district heat network regulatory unit in Ofgem; and the introduction of a carbon life cycle assessment as part of public procurement procedures, to drive the market for energy efficiency and renewable heat technologies in public estates.
When it came to cost, the report recommended policy support and incentives must be put in place to reduce the financial impact on billpayers and taxpayers. This could include promoting tariff switching and energy efficiency measures.