Regen, along with project partners Western Power Distribution and Wales & West Utilities, have today published the first joint electricity and gas 2050 net zero scenarios covering their shared distribution network region in South Wales. This analysis is a unique collaboration project between the electricity and gas distribution networks, and builds upon earlier innovation and scenarios projects produced with Wales & West Utilities and Western Power Distribution. It explores a range of possible futures for the electricity and gas distribution networks in the region.

Poppy Maltby, senior manager from Regen said “The UK’s commitment to net zero by 2050 means that in 30 years’ time, we will need to have stopped burning unabated fossil fuels, and this truly seismic change will reinvent our relationship with energy. The energy networks, both electricity and gas, will be fundamental to supporting this transition. This net zero scenario analysis helps them understand and plan for how this transformational change could impact their operations in the short, medium, and longer term.”

With funding from the Network Innovation Allowance, this innovation project brought Western Power Distribution and Wales & West Utilities together to develop an integrated approach to electricity and gas scenario planning. The analysis also worked to better understand the technologies that impact both gas and electricity distribution networks such as hydrogen electrolysis, gas fired power and hybrid heating.

Ben Godfrey, network strategy manager at Western Power Distribution, said “Although all regions will contribute to the net zero target, it is clear that each part of the UK will have different priorities, opportunities, and pathways. This integrated scenarios process for our South Wales licence area allows us to understand how the decarbonisation pathways might progress in South Wales and how the distribution energy networks may be interacting in the future.” 

The DFES scenarios developed for this project were focused on how South Wales might decarbonise heat: High Electrification, where heat demand is mainly electrified, Core Hydrogen, where hydrogen for heat is available only in urban areas and High Hydrogen, plus a hybrid heat sensitivity, where hydrogen is available to all existing gas customers.

Chris Clarke, energy strategy director from Wales & West Utilities, said “This project explores a range of options for decarbonising heat in South Wales. Our view is clear: making use of our existing safe and reliable local gas networks is key to decarbonising not only home heating, but heavy industry too. Green gases like hydrogen and biomethane, alongside Smart Hybrid Heating Systems, will help Wales and the UK meet our Net Zero targets, while delivering what people want and need: energy that is safe, reliable and sustainable.”

The scenarios show a wide range of results by 2050. The results suggest that South Wales can expect significant evolution on both networks in the coming decades, and that decentralised energy supply of both gas and electricity is expected to meet an increasing proportion of annual demand.

You can view the project reports here

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From 14.00 this afternoon we will be hosting a launch webinar presenting the key learnings from the work and highlighting what the pathways that reach a zero carbon future in one region of the UK.

We will be talking with the network strategy teams at Western Power Distribution and Wales and West Utilities about the interaction of energy supply, demand and fuel usage on both networks as the energy system evolves as well as exploring the impact of low carbon technologies.

Join us for the webinar

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