The launch included experts from Worcester Bosch, Energy and Utilities Alliance, the three co-chair MPs Alan Whitehead, James Heappey and Callum McCaig, finance expert Sarah Deasley of Frontier Economics, and the Istitution of Gas Engineers & Managers.
The Future Gas Series will begin by examining the gas grid as an existing piece of infrastructure, which can either continue to be utilised or be left to become a stranded asset. The first inquiry will therefore investigate the suitability of the gas grid to be re-purposed to distribute low carbon gas and the current impediments to doing this, as well as exploring the opportunities offered by low carbon gas.
The project will build on this first inquiry by looking at what is required to develop the production of low carbon gas and evaluating the options for doing this. The Future Gas Series will finish by examining the developments which are needed to manufacture and deploy heating and cooking appliances that are capable of using low carbon gas. It will also assess the challenges related to consumers in the transition to using low carbon heat, including the regulation required to support this and how consumers’ rights are managed and maintained during a potential transition to using low carbon gas.
The launch event was chaired by our CEO, Jonathan Shaw, who was formerly an Environment Minister and is very interested in the subject of future energy provision. Of the event, Jonathan said:
"What is so brilliant about bringing all of these people together, is to see that from different sides of the political and business spectrum there is consensus that a holistic energy strategy is needed within government that is practical on the ground."
The Co-Chairs were also keen to expand on their enthusiasm for leading this inquiry with the impartial forum of Carbon Connect:
“I am very excited to be involved with Carbon Connect’s Future Gas Series. This research project will allow us to look in real detail at the potential offered by low carbon gas to supply decarbonised heat. It will also provide the perfect platform for extensive dialogue between experts, key stakeholders and policymakers.” Dr Alan Whitehead MP, Labour Member of Parliament for Southampton Test & Shadow Energy and Climate Change Minister.
“The Future Gas Series is incredibly timely. There is an urgent need for progress in the area of heat decarbonisation and low carbon gas could make a significant contribution to this. I look forward to working with Carbon Connect on this project.” Callum McCaig MP, SNP Member of Parliament for Aberdeen South & SNP Spokesperson on Energy and Climate Change.
“I am delighted to be collaborating with Carbon Connect on this useful research project. This type of work is essential to determine the next steps which are required to reduce the UK’s emissions while maintaining a secure and affordable supply of energy.” James Heappey MP, Conservative Member of Parliament for Wells and former Member of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee
Questions included topics such as re-using the existing gas grid networks, what kind of energy sources and technology can we use, how do we 'know when to make the big decision', how the all-electric policy scenario forced the gas industry to innovate towards decarbonising gas and how can we forecast the costs?
We are now eagerly looking forward to the first evidence session in January, and to meeting and interviewing more witnesses for the research process. To find out more you can visit the Carbon Connect website here.