Hydrogen Gas

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2017 Energy Service Group Conference
21 February 2017

Conference notes that UNISON is the largest staff union in the UK gas industry and has a proud heritage of supporting Gas members going back to local municipal gas corporations.

Conference further notes that UNISON has members working right across the industrial spectrum from qualified engineers, scientists, finance, managerial, customer contact, emergency response, shipping terminals. The list goes on.

The future of the gas industry remains open to question and is a source of concern for members in the industry. This is despite the fact the over 90% of UK homes rely on Gas as a primary source for heat, hot water and for cooking food.

Environmental obligations and dwindling domestic supply have led some to call for the replacement of Gas with renewable electricity referred to as the electrification of heat. This would be a colossal undertaking considering that already generational capacity is close to its demand limit and Coal generation is being phased out. In coming years the electrification of cars is also likely to significantly increase electricity demand beyond system capacity.

The development of technology around Hydrogen Gas and recent work to consider its use across the UK gas distribution system, has the potential to be a significant game changing development. Hydrogen is carbon free when used and so does not contribute to global warming with the right production system. It could use the existing gas distribution pipe network and the national conversion could be fully funded by continuing the levies already in place on household bills.

This conference therefore calls on the ESGE to;

i)Support UNISON members working in the Gas Industry, by helping progress a sustainable future for the industry.

ii) Help promote through engagement with key stakeholders, the development of a Hydrogen alternative into the future, so that Gas can be used safely in UK homes while still employing thousands of workers and supporting the UK’s environmental obligations.

iii) Seek to use its influence to promote the work of its members in the Gas industry and the proud heritage we have in this union.