Energy executives criticize Lords for making “unevidenced” claims about hydrogen

When they told governments that heat pumps would never be financially feasible for millions of British houses, gas network executives accused peers of making unsupported claims about the use of hydrogen for heating.

The heads of five gas network companies wrote to ministers to refute a House of Lords committee’s assertion that utilizing hydrogen to heat houses was “not a real alternative.”

A range of technologies would be required in the future, according to the firms, and the committee’s advice that the government concentrates on heat pumps rather than hydrogen boilers was misguided.

Most low-income homes, as well as many people who live in high-rise apartments or small houses, would never be able to purchase one because the devices normally cost £7,000 to £14,000 to install, they continued.

As an alternative, managers suggested that converting gas boilers to burn hydrogen as well and then pumping hydrogen over the gas network could eventually offer a more cost-effective heat pump replacement.

We were disappointed to see the unevidenced conclusion from the Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee, that “Hydrogen is not a serious option for home heating,” according to the letter, which was signed by the CEOs of National Gas, Wales and West Utilities, Northern Gas Networks, Cadent Gas, and SGN.

The current complexity of the energy network and the difficulties we will confront in decarbonizing all sectors by 2050 are both ignored by the report.

There isn’t just one way to get net zero, which is the situation as it stands. A heat pump is not a practical alternative for the majority of lower-income households, those who live in high-rise apartments, or those who own smaller properties due to the expense and required space for installation.

As a result, a sizeable section of our population will no longer have a choice between a fossil fuel boiler and a heat pump.

The comment follows Thursday’s statement by the House of Lords environment and climate change committee that the Government was undermining the nationwide rollout of heat pumps with “confusing” and “mixed” messages on unproven alternatives like hydrogen heating

A crucial component of the strategy to achieve “net zero” carbon emissions by 2050 is the widespread use of heat pumps.

The devices pump compressed air from outside to boost the temperature inside people’s homes, but up until now, their acceptance has been gradual due to the high cost of installation and worries about their compatibility with particular homes.

By 2028, the government hopes to have built 600,000 heat pumps annually, up from about 35,000 at present.

The Lords committee, however, said that by creating uncertainty, a concurrent investigation of whether hydrogen-powered boilers could be used for home heating instead — with plans to make gas boilers “hydrogen ready” by 2026 — was “negatively influencing” demand for heat pumps.

The committee’s chairman, Baroness Parminter, stated that because of this, plumbers were hesitant to enroll in heat pump training and that it was uncertain if future hydrogen supplies would be sufficient to meet the needs of both industrial users and millions of residences.

“Hydrogen is not a serious possibility,” she stated.

Additionally, MPs cautioned that hydrogen was “not a cure-all” and was “likely to play a limited role” in house heating in December.

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