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Wales & West Utilities to develop a low-carbon H2 network for North Wales

Wales & West Utilities (WWU) announced plans to assess the capability of its existing North Wales infrastructure for transporting H2 as part of its future network planning strategy. The plans could be implemented in the early 2030s to support UK and Welsh Government ambitions for industrial decarbonization.

The feasibility study—delivered in partnership with Apollo Engineering—will provide a detailed assessment of the infrastructure needed to advance opportunities for H2 in Wrexham and Deeside. This will include links with HyNet, which is developing core H2 and carbon dioxide pipeline infrastructure for the Northwest industrial cluster, with links into North Wales.

WWU’s project will explore supply and demand scenarios, with the aim of understanding how much of the existing H2 rollout to industrial customers before 2030 and domestic customers after 2030. It will also develop options for changes to the current method for implementing industrial cost-sharing ‘infill’ schemes, which allows customers to share the cost of adopting a H2 network and could reduce the cost of rolling out H2 for industry. The study will build on findings from WWUs Regional Decarbonization Pathways and the government’s Industrial Fuel Switching program.

Matt Hindle, Head of Net Zero and Sustainability said, “The 2020s must be a decade of delivery. H2 will be vital to decarbonize industry, retaining jobs and developing new low-carbon opportunities. We’re delighted to be launching this project with support from a range partners in industry, in line with the UK government’s net-zero plans.

"Our H2 plans will build on Wales's industrial heritage and kick-start the green industrial revolution within the Northeast Wales cluster, to create a trusted, sustainable, prosperous and resilient industry that the citizens of Wales can continue to be proud of."

Over 2022/23, WWU started 19 new projects, funded by a total investment of £2.2 MM, including £1.5 MM of Network Innovation Allowance funding. A further 38 projects are planned for the rest of 2023 into 2024.

Wales & West Utilities is the company that looks after the pipes that keep the gas flowing to heat the homes and power businesses of 7.5 MM people across Wales and southwest England. We operate the gas emergency service, connect new homes and businesses, and upgrade the gas network so it’s safe today and fit for the future.

We are investing £400 MM between 2021 and 2026 in the gas network, supporting our journey to net zero. By 2035, we aim to deliver a net zero ready network to the area’s most likely to convert to H2, transforming our entire network by 2040.

The company is also committed to playing its part in getting to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. It has 54 power stations connected to its network to support renewables like wind and solar power, while 20 green gas sites have capacity to inject enough decarbonized green gas to meet the demand of around 150,000 homes. Our network supplies bus garages in three locations across the southwest of England, fueling CNG buses that improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions from public transport.