National Grid has urged government to get to grips with decarbonising gas in order to also decarbonise heat, transport and industry.
The gas and electricity system operator recommends government appoints a lead official with responsibility for gas decarbonisation with a remit to set strategy and policy.
In a wide-ranging report on the future of gas, National Grid said whole system thinking will be crucial to deliver least regrets, least cost decarbonisation.
The firm said there was unlikely to be a silver bullet in terms of technologies or pathways and reiterated the challenges associated with systems-wide electrification.
Pointing to huge winter peak requirements should even heat alone be electrified (which would require about six times the winter electricity peak of 60GW), National Grid said gas, potentially hydrogen, would likely remain central to meeting energy needs for households and industry.
Using steam methane reformation to create hydrogen will require carbon capture and storage (CCS) or carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS).
While government has offered some support (£100m) for CCS development, it is a fraction of what will be required to develop an expensive and as yet not wholly proven technology and infrastructure.
In the absence of policy clarity around hydrogen and CCS, National Grid said there were still least regrets action that industry, government and regulator could take to decarbonise heat, transport and industry.
However, it said much closer collaboration between power and gas companies, with a regulatory and policy framework that recognises the increasing interrelation between all parts of the energy system, is urgently required.
See the document here.
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