The energy quadrilemma continued

6th Aug 2018

 

Last week I suggested the industry consider the impact it has upon jobs (and workers’ wages) but the wider economic impact of our sector is bigger than just its direct employment. The gas grid is also essential to industry. Not just for space heating but for industrial process heat.

Energy intensive industries use gas for its reliability, its low cost relative to alternatives and its ability to reach high temperatures. These industries tend to have a significant impact in local economies, such as steel, ceramics, and chemicals.

But the choices facing the UK also offer up job opportunities too. Decarbonising the gas used in the grid will do just this. Biomethane injection plants need to be built, kitted out and staffed. The same is true for the ground-breaking bioSNG plants that will come to fruition.

The ambitious plans for the 100 per cent hydrogen grid will help secure jobs in industry as well as heating our homes and offices. The work around Hynet, creating a hydrogen-hub around Liverpool and Manchester, is vital to keep jobs in the UK whilst still meeting our climate change obligations.

Does it matter? Well absolutely. One of the biggest worries (and let’s face it criticisms) of the UK’s carbon reductions achieved to date, is that it has come at the expense of industry. Economists, such as Dieter Helm, have warned politicians about this outcome. Exporting relatively “dirty” industry abroad, where energy is even dirtier, to meet domestic carbon budgets isn’t good for the planet and certainly not good for the UK’s finances either. That is why decarbonisation needs to be done with a view to keeping industry viable. That’s the role low carbon gas, delivered through the world-leading gas infrastructure by our envied gas industry can play.

Best wishes 

Mike Foster, CEO