Pathfinder firms lead the way

6th Feb 2017


As we wait for the Government to announce its Emissions Reduction Plan, due in the Spring, it is interesting to note that low carbon gas continues to make progress.

 When household names use low carbon gas for their operational activities, then it is long overdue that government reflects that in its thinking. When the John Lewis Partnership use low carbon CNG in its delivery trucks, it is doing so because it makes commercial sense and it is good for the planet too. If it’s good enough to deliver your Waitrose shopping in a gas truck, surely it is good enough for the UK’s fleet of HGVs to make that switch away from diesel. And with air quality one of the most important issues facing London, then the sooner that happens the better. Evidence from the government’s trials suggest switching from diesel to gas for HGVs can reduce NOx emissions by 40 per cent – something I would have thought local authorities would want.  

 Consumer product giant Unilever are also embracing low carbon gas. In a deal struck with an anaerobic digestion plant, it is contracted to buy 10,000MWh of biomethane gas, serving five sites in the UK and Irish Republic. The company plan to be carbon positive by 2030, reducing its emissions to zero and then generating and selling on surplus low carbon energy.

 Companies of this size and reputation do not make investment decisions like this by accident; or lightly. They do so because it makes financial sense for them. There is a self-interest argument in reducing carbon emissions and there is nothing wrong in that.  

But the signal to government, made by these household names, should be crystal clear. When it comes to their announcement, do they follow the path of these major UK businesses (and most of us working in the industry) and embrace low carbon gas or come up with their own, and more novel approach? I know which route I would follow.

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CE