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Decarbonising the UK’s Gas Network - Realising the Green Power-to-hydrogen Opportunity in the East Network


Although the UK has done a great job of decarbonising electricity generation, to get to net zero we need to tackle harder-to-decarbonise sectors like heat, transport and industry. Decarbonised gas – biogases, hydrogen and the deployment of carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) – can make our manufacturing more sustainable, minimise disruption to families and deliver negative emissions.
Developing the capability to produce hydrogen at scale is one of the key challenges in the race to meet the UK’s ambitious net zero targets. Using the East Neuk of Fife - with its abundant on- and offshore renewables resource and well-developed electricity and gas networks – as a test bed, we investigated the use of surplus electricity generated by renewables to produce green hydrogen, which could then be used to heat homes and businesses carbon-free.
The study focused on answering a number of important questions around bringing power-to-hydrogen to Fife, including:
How much low-cost, low-carbon electricity would be available to a power-to-hydrogen operator in Fife, and how much hydrogen could be produced today and in 2040? How much hydrogen storage would be required to meet demand under three end-use cases: injection into the natural gas grid; use in a dedicated hydrogen grid for heating; and use as transport fuel for a small fleet of vehicles? What, if any, network upgrades could be avoided by implementing power-to-hydrogen? Which hydrogen end-use markets would be most attractive for a power-to-hydrogen operator? What are the regulatory, legislative, or market barriers to be overcome to realise large-scale deployment of power-to-hydrogen?
The study
Our expert researchers used a high-level model of the European electricity system and established wholesale prices, generation volumes by generation type, and constrained generation in Fife. Considering both the present day and a 2040 picture based on National Grid’s Two Degrees Future Energy Scenarios, our team explored a number of configurations of power generation and hydrogen end-use to assess the value associated with producing hydrogen.
Alongside this modelling, our team conducted a comprehensive review of power-to-hydrogen legislation and regulation, and reports and academic papers to identify the current characteristics and direction of the sector, observe where most progress had been made, and identify lessons learned.
This report and any attachment is freely available on the ENA Smarter Networks Portal here. IGEM Members can download the report and any attachment directly by clicking on the pdf icon above.

Funding source: Network Innovation Allowance (NIA)
Countries: United Kingdom

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