IGEM welcomes release of major new Gas Goes Green programme for UK networks

22/04/2020 14:11


UK gas networks coordinating their response to the net zero challenge

IGEM already supporting the development of new standards for green gas

The Institution of Gas Engineers & Managers (IGEM) has welcomed today’s launch of a major new programme to support the gas industry’s transition to net zero.   

Gas Goes Green, spearheaded by Energy Networks Association (ENA), builds on the recent successes of UK gas network operators to remove fossil-based natural gas from the system, driving the move towards zero and low carbon sources, such as hydrogen and biomethane. 

The eventual conversion of the UK’s gas networks to green sources will be critical to the country’s climate change efforts, as gas provides four fifths of total energy demand at peak times.  

The gas networks are already running trials for using hydrogen and other green gases in projects around the country, including live demonstrations of hydrogen for heating homes.  

IGEM, the professional engineering institution for the gas industry, is supporting that work by facilitating a new standard specifying the quality of gas allowed into the UK’s gas transmission and distribution network. 

Before the UK can maximise the potential of green gas, it must first scale up the use of biogases and hydrogen by allowing changes to the Gas Safety (Management) Regulations (GSMR). Collaborating with industry, IGEM’s Gas Quality Working Group has been analysing the evidence that it is safe and feasible to make changes to the GSMR. This work will move quality rules from legislation to a new, more flexible industry standard, which is currently in progress. 

IGEM CEO Neil Atkinson said: “When people think of the net zero challenge, they often think of solar panels and wind turbines – not the gas that heats our homes, fuels our vehicles, supports our heavy industry and powers our power stations. But the truth is, net zero won’t be reached through renewable electricity alone. We must put our existing gas infrastructure – one of the best-developed gas networks in the world – to use if we wish to meet this challenge head-on.   

“Collectively, the UK gas industry is stating a clear intention to deliver the world’s first net zero compliant network and IGEM has a crucial role to play in that transition. Our work to help open up the gas network to new sources could soon see the nation’s homes and businesses running off a multitude of new, greener gas sources.  

“This is a pivotal moment for the gas industry and represents positive action towards real change and the delivery of the government’s net zero ambitions.” 

Gas Goes Green, spearheaded by IGEM Fellow Chris Train, former CEO of Cadent, reflects the growing ambition of the networks to move at a pace to go green.  

The programme has allocated the scope of work necessary to do this across six workstreams, each of which supports the net zero drive: investing in net zero, gas quality and safety, consumer options, system enhancement, hydrogen transformation and communications and stakeholder engagement. 

The aim of the programme is to support the eventual conversion of the whole industry in a way that saves bill payers from the impacts of more costly energy alternatives. 

In its first phase, the programme will: 

  • Agree and deliver a 17-step Hydrogen Transformation Plan for preparing Britain for a national gas boiler switchover scheme. 

  • Undertake the technical and operational research necessary for the government to make changes to regulations for using hydrogen and renewable gases in the gas networks. 

  • Agree and deliver the updated safety measures for running a zero carbon gas grid. 

  • Make changes to connections to the gas grid, to make it easier for farmers and other businesses to feed green gases like biomethane into the local gas grid. 

IGEM will sit on the Gas Goes Green Programme Advisory Group for the project, which brings gas network operators together with civil servants, engineers and policy experts to solve the operational and technical issues associated with delivering a zero carbon gas grid. 

Editor’s notes 

For more information or to arrange an interview with Neil, email IGEM Marketing Manager Sharon Baker-Hallam at sharon@igem.org.uk or call +44 (0)1509 678186.  

The Institution of Gas Engineers & Managers (IGEM) is the professional engineering institution supporting individuals and businesses working in the global gas industry. Our core role is to encourage the highest standards of professional competence amongst individuals working in the industry. We help individuals stay up to date by delivering technical training. We support industry through the development of technical standards that are recognised around the world. We share knowledge and expertise amongst our members and the wider gas industry. We work across sectors to demonstrate the innovation taking place in the industry through networking events and conferences. 

We are licensed by the Engineering Council to award the professional titles Chartered Engineer, Incorporated Engineer and Engineering Technician and support individuals to become professionally registered engineers. Working with stakeholders from across the sector we seek to demonstrate how the gas industry will help to decarbonise the energy sector and represent the views of our members to inform and influence future energy policy. 

Energy Networks Association (ENA) represents the ‘wires and pipes’ transmission and distribution network operators for gas and electricity in the UK and Ireland. Our members control and maintain the critical national infrastructure that delivers these vital services into our homes and businesses. 

ENA's overriding goals are to promote the UK and Ireland energy networks ensuring our networks are the safest, most reliable, most efficient and sustainable in the world. We influence decision-makers on issues that are important to our members. These include: 

  • Regulation and the wider representation in UK, Ireland and the rest of Europe. 

  • Cost-efficient engineering services and related businesses for the benefit of members. 

  • Safety, health and environment across the gas and electricity industries. 

  • The development and deployment of smart technology. 

As the voice of the energy networks sector ENA acts as a strategic focus and channel of communication for the industry. We promote the interests and good standing of the industry, and provide a forum of discussion among company members.  

ENA also provides business support functions to a number of industry related companies. These include secretariat services, financial services, database management, tailored consultancy services, public relations and event management.  

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