Future scenario is call for action

15th Jul 2019


Each year the Future Energy Scenario document is published. It provides hours of fun, looking at the analysis and searching for the evidence and data that helps makes the case you want to make.

(Let’s not pretend that isn’t what happens). The reason why is simple, the FES is an authoritative publication and is taken seriously by policymakers. And here’s a secret, the earlier in the document something appears, the more important that item is. So if something appears on Page 2, under “Key messages” then it’s important.

This year, on page 2, the following statement appears: “Gas appliance standards must require boilers to be “hydrogen-ready” in order to leverage replacement cycles”. The significance of this cannot be overstated.

Now it is no secret that boiler manufacturers are working on hydrogen-ready boilers, capable of burning 100 per cent hydrogen. Government funding has been made available for their testing. From what I have seen and heard, there are plenty of positives coming from these innovations. Manufacturers are confident that they can deliver what the UK needs to achieve NetZero, namely hydrogen-ready boilers.

But our industry needs to go further. And quickly. The FES quote refers to “gas appliance standards”, here is the key phrase, not just the product but the standards that are required. The sooner the better for a couple of reasons. Firstly, when Government is considering options (as they are now ahead of publishing their Heat Strategy) giving them solutions, on a plate, makes their day. Industry could wait for Government to tell them what to do, but what a lost opportunity compared to putting our preferred technology on a plate for them.

Secondly, and related to the first point, is that competing technologies will be offering solutions to Government that might also have appeal. So there is a huge commercial risk in not preparing the ground in advance.

So the challenge for us is to help the heating industry to devise appropriate gas appliance standards for hydrogen-ready boilers; have an appealing offer, such as being able to make the switch from methane to hydrogen within an hour. Then we tell Government what the solution is. Offer it to them on a plate; it’s what they want and need. What a great opportunity we have been presented with and we can quote the FES as our evidence.

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CEO