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Energy Networks Association

Continuing to work safely together during COVID-19

As governments across the UK and Ireland manage regional lockdowns, ease restrictions with more people returning to the workplace, and consider the possibility of a resurgence of COVID-19, Energy Networks Association and Energy UK members have reaffirmed their commitments to protect those most in need, keep colleagues and customers safe

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Latest Issue

BDC 317 : Jun 2024

Energy Networks Association

Britain’s gas grid to be ready to deliver hydrogen across the country from 2023, energy networks announce

Britain’s gas grid is set to be ready to start to blending hydrogen around the country from next year, helping provide families with more secure, homegrown energy supplies, new plans published by energy network companies announce today. Energy Networks Association (ENA) has published Britain’s Hydrogen Blending Delivery Plan, setting out how all five of Britain’s gas grid companies will meet the Government’s target for Britain’s network of gas pipes to be ready to deliver 20% hydrogen to homes and businesses acround the country from 2023, as a replacement for up to a fifth of the natural gas currently used. It will also mean that Britain’s fleet of gas-fired power plants will be able to use blended hydrogen to generate cleaner electricity. The companies are also calling for the UK Government to double its domestic 2030 hydrogen production target from 5GW to 10GW, to ensure that as much hydrogen as possible is produced from sources here in the UK, to better protect homes and businesses from international gas market changes. Blending 20% hydrogen into the gas grid will reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent of 2.5 million cars a year, without any changes needed to be made to people’s cookers, boilers or heating systems, ENA says. Britain’s Hydrogen Blending Delivery Plan sets out: A new ‘Target 2023’ timeline that all five of Britain’s gas network companies will follow, to ensure homes are able to benefit from hydrogen as a replacement for up to a fifth of the natural gas currently used, from the winter of 2023/4 onwards. Two options that the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy should choose from for the energy infrastructure changes that need to be made to allow hydrogen blending to happen from 2023 – a Strategic Approach and a Free Market Approach. The legal changes that must be made by Government and regulatory bodies across five key ‘Market Pillars’ to ensure gas network companies can start blending hydrogen into the gas grid from 2023. The Plan builds on the progress made by gas network companies through the HyDeploy project, which has demonstrated that blending hydrogen with natural gas is feasible and safe. The project began blending hydrogen into the public gas network in Winlaton, Gateshead, in summer 2021. David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association, says: “Whether it be heating our homes, powering our businesses or generating cleaner electricity, hydrogen will help drive up our energy security, while driving down our carbon emissions – and Britain’s gas grid companies are ready to get on with the job of delivering that. “This plan sets out the changes needed to deliver cleaner, more secure energy supplies for all. What’s key is that the Government does its bit too by lifting its target for homegrown hydrogen production this decade. Doing that today will help gas grid companies deliver for tomorrow.”

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Continuing to work safely together during COVID-19

As governments across the UK and Ireland manage regional lockdowns, ease restrictions with more people returning to the workplace, and consider the possibility of a resurgence of COVID-19, Energy Networks Association and Energy UK members have reaffirmed their commitments to protect those most in need, keep colleagues and customers safe and their energy flowing. From the outset of the pandemic, companies across the energy industry have implemented safe working practices in consultation with colleagues, contractors, and trades unions. As the governments’ responses to the coronavirus pandemic develops, companies and unions are continuing to keep their approach under careful watch and carry out regular reviews of their practices to make sure they operate as safely as possible. Energy companies will always take an approach which safeguards the health and well-being of their customers and colleagues, while maintaining a safe and reliable supply of energy.  As lockdown restrictions ease in many parts of the country, companies and unions are mindful of the possibility of more local lockdowns and a resurgence that will require continued vigilance. They continue to take appropriate safety measures, including: Revising and implementing procedures based on our joint learning from experience gained since the start of the pandemic. Continuing to ensure any new or revised procedures provide customers with the best possible service Working with the National HESAC and across the whole energy industry to pre-empt and prepare for any potential spikes in infections to ensure that colleagues and the public have confidence that the essential services they rely on will continue to be provided safely. Reviewing existing COVID-19 risk assessments with trades union health and safety representatives. Any changes to the assessments will be shared with energy industry and contractors, demonstrating transparency and ensuring they are easily accessible. David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association, which represents the UK and Ireland’s energy networks businesses, said: “The energy networks continue to put colleagues and customers at the heart of their COVID-19 response. We are constantly reviewing our plans to make sure we continue to provide the best possible service, especially to those who need extra help. We will carry on working with our colleagues and trades unions to keep people safe, protect those most in need and keep your energy flowing.” Emma Pinchbeck, Chief Executive of Energy UK said: “At the start of the pandemic our members responded quickly to make sure customers were supported and that we kept the lights on, maintaining the highest standards of health and safety in unprecedented circumstances while protecting the welfare of staff and customers. The experience gained over the last few months will help the industry rise to any future challenges and our sector will continue to work with staff and union representatives to protect essential energy workers and the customers they serve.” Sue Ferns, Senior Deputy General Secretary of Prospect said: “By working together and focusing on detailed changes to make work COVID-secure, the companies and unions have ensured that we have maintained high safety standards and service to customers. Trade union safety representatives have played a key role and their work will be even more vital during the challenging times ahead.”

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