CEO blog: Heating our homes in future

24 Oct 2022
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Mark Wild, CEO, SGN

Last week was a significant week in many ways for the UK.

Closer to home, we’ve just published some important news of our own. I wanted to reflect upon it because it’s important for our customers and our country’s journey to net zero.

On Wednesday, I was in London for the launch of our Capital Hydrogen project with Cadent and National Grid Gas Transmission. The programme plans to deliver a transition to hydrogen for gas networks in the East of England, South East and London through a series of projects over the next 15-20 years.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, we announced we’ve joined forces with some of the biggest names in the UK energy industry to launch a campaign which will raise awareness of hydrogen gas for heating our homes.

Hello Hydrogen will help us begin the conversation about how we will all heat our homes in the future. We’d like households to know that there will be numerous ways to warm up their radiators or cook their dinner and hydrogen could be the right choice for them.

Resilient energy system

At the Capital Hydrogen launch, I explained how we think hydrogen has a big role to play in delivering a resilient energy system both for London and the UK more widely.

There isn’t a silver bullet to achieving net zero. We’re going to need every tool in the box to achieve it, that means hydrogen and electrification.

That diversity of supply is crucial, particularly as we are in the midst of an energy crisis. The resilience of our energy system has arguably never been more important. 

This is where I think hydrogen could have a role to play, because in the UK, we have an opportunity to scale up the production of indigenous hydrogen, working alongside electricity, to help deliver a resilient system that decarbonises a number of sectors.

Customer proposition

One of these sectors could be heating. And when it comes to decarbonising people’s homes, the biggest challenge isn’t around the technology we use, it’s around the customer proposition and make up of their property. 

Some properties will be better suited to different technologies, and we shouldn’t be in the game of ruling things out or making bold predictions when the external climate is so volatile. 

Our customers tell us they are supportive of green home heating solutions. But their support dramatically drops when asked whether they would pay for a change. 

Therefore, we believe we need a strong strategic approach across the country which minimises the impact on customers and gives them real options about how they heat their homes in a net zero world. 

Keeping our customers safe and warm in their homes is our number one priority. Therefore, it’s critically important for us that our strategy for green home heating solutions promotes customer choice and protects the most vulnerable.