Gas transmission/distribution

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A £150 million gas pipeline located 30 metres underneath the River Humber has become operational, National Grid has announced. The Feeder 9 project was begun in 2016 with joint venture project partners Skanska, A.Hak and Porr. It replaces a trench-laid gas pipe which had become exposed.
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Ofgem has issued its final determinations for the RIIO2 price controls beginning in April next year, raising the baseline profit margin for investors in the transmission and gas distribution sectors by more than a third of a percentage point when compared to its draft determinations in July. Utility Week looks at where Ofgem has changed tack and gauges reaction.
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A former partner at Ofgem has said she is still mystified as to why the regulator handed some companies penalties and others rewards under the new business plan incentive mechanism for the RIIO2 price controls. Maxine Frerk said Ofgem needs to provide more clarity on exactly how networks’ business plans are judged. Its chief executive, Jonathan Brearley, told Utility Week some companies had initially failed to show their plans were in the interest of consumers.
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Politicians and business leaders want the country to deliver a green revolution, create jobs and boost the economy. As part of our Build Back Better campaign, Utility Week in association with Addleshaw Goddard has published a major new report exploring the significant role utilities can play in fulfilling these ambitions.
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If hydrogen is to fulfil its potential as a driver of decarbonisation then large-scale production projects need to kick off in the next few years. According to Gas Goes Green Champion, and former Cadent chief executive, Chris Train, the first step should be to start the process of allowing gas networks to blend hydrogen into the grid.
Opinion

Latest in Gas transmission/distribution

Gas imports reached a record quarterly high in the first three months of 2021 following a fall in gross production, the latest government figures have revealed. The figures have been published in the latest BEIS energy trends report.
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A ban on gas boilers is neither a “necessary or even desirable” policy and government should instead introduce a subsidy for heat pumps, an energy retailer has suggested. Clementine Cowton, Octopus Energy’s director of external affairs, was speaking following national media reports that the government was considering pushing back the ban on new gas boilers.
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Hydrogen will be blended onto a public gas network for the first time in the next phase of the green £22.5 million HyDeploy project. Part of Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition (NIC), HyDeploy is being delivered by a consortium including Northern Gas Networks, Cadent, Progressive Energy, Keele University, HSE – Science Division and ITM Power.
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Eon UK chief executive Michael Lewis has urged the government to bring forward the ban on gas boiler sales to 2030 as “the best way to give industry the signal to start investing today”. Conversely, he said rumours of the ban being extended beyond a previously mooted date of 2035 would “simply delay the benefits of the transition to net zero”.
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Northern Gas Networks (NGN) has begun testing how existing networks cope under 100 per cent hydrogen as part of the H21 project. MicroGrid is a gas distribution test grid which NGN claims is the first of its kind. It has been purpose-built by DNV and located at the latter’s test and research facility at Spadeadam, Cumbria.
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SSE Renewables and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy have announced plans to produce green hydrogen through electrolysis using energy from two onshore windfarms. The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding in a partnership which aims to “encompass the full green hydrogen value chain” including construction, management, end user requirements, operation and maintenance. 
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SGN has revealed plans to form a 50:50 joint venture with Vital Energi to build and operate low and zero-carbon heat networks around the UK. The networks will supply new and existing residential, commercial and industrial sites, including redundant sites owned by SGN and developments planned by its property arm, SGN place.
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Utility Week explores the wide range of new roles and responsibilities an independent energy system operator may be asked to take on. These include a possible statutory duty to advise government, Ofgem, code managers, councils and other bodies, as well as taking on some secretary of state functions with regard to the Capacity Market and playing an active part in the rollout of hydrogen and CCUS.
Analysis
As part of a flurry of energy policy announcements, the government and Ofgem have outlined their initial views on the responsibilities, ownership and structure of an independent system operator for electricity and gas. The consultation suggests transferring all responsibilities of the current electricity system operator but leaving some gas system roles with National Grid. It also gauges views on a privately-owned or public sector model.
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Steve Holliday, National Grid’s former chief executive and now chair of Cityfibre, urges more joined-up thinking between telecommunications and energy companies to meet net-zero targets. He also gives his view on the future for National Grid and the lack of policy to incentivise storage. Denise Chevin reports
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