ENA calls for mandatory hydrogen boilers as CBI outlines new sustainability vision

Replacing existing gas boilers with hydrogen-ready devices should be mandatory when they reach the end of their life, the Energy Networks Association (ENA) has urged in its general election manifesto.

Heat currently accounts for 15% of the UK's annual greenhouse gas emissions

Heat currently accounts for 15% of the UK's annual greenhouse gas emissions

The document, which has appeared today (19 November) ahead of the publication of the political parties’ manifestos during the upcoming week, says more must be invested in innovation trials for low-carbon heating systems and hydrogen-ready boilers made mandatory once these are complete.

It states that the UK government’s promised 2020 Heat Roadmap must “embrace short–term solutions, minimise disruption to homes and businesses, and keep costs low for the public”.

The ENA says a long-term policy mechanism is needed to boost the amount of green gas on the grid from the 2021 end of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, which currently provides support for such fuels.

It also says that “at least one” net-zero industrial cluster should be live by 2025 to test CCUS (carbon capture, usage and storage) technologies.

Electric vehicle (EV) smart charging tariffs must be introduced and support must be maintained for emerging local energy markets, new forms of flexibility to manage the grid and the shift to Distribution System Operators.

The network companies want the government and Ofgem to provide more direction on future-proofing energy networks so that they can provide further support for the roll-out of infrastructure such as EV charging points and green gas refuelling stations.

And the ENA joins call for Ofgem to be equipped with a new statutory duty to help achieve net zero, while the Treasury must emphasise the role of private investment in complementing public spending when it publishes its upcoming strategy for achieving decarbonisation.

ENA chief executive David Smith said: “Climate change is the defining issue of our time and the message for our political leaders is clear – the time for action is now. Our energy network companies stand ready to play a bigger role – by working together we can ensure a fair transition to net-zero.”

The publication of the ENA’s manifesto follows that of the CBI’s own wishlist, which came out ahead of the business body’s annual conference yesterday (18 November). 

This calls for the next government to pass legislation by 2021 for the Future Homes Standard for energy efficiency with full implementation in 2025.

It also urges clarity of the government’s heat policy plans during 2020 and the development of a privately financed RAB (regulated asset base) model for CCUS in the early 2020s to help bring forward such projects.

And it urges the development of a competitive market framework for supporting the development of the electrolysis for producing hydrogen, while continuing support for the development of Small Modular Reactor designs for mini-nuclear plants.

David Blackman

This article first appeared on edie's sister title website, Utility Week


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