National Grid Sees Hydrogen as a Linchpin,
Joins Utilities Targeting Net Zero Carbon By 2050
- National Grid, a U.K.-owned electric and gas utility, announced on Thursday a pledge
to reach net zero emissions by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. The announcement has
created new buzz around hydrogen energy, said to be the "lynchpin" between the company's
gas and electric networks, according to a spokesperson.
- National Grid's Net Zero by 2050 plan involves cutting scope 3 emissions — the emissions
from the fuels and electricity it provides — 20% by 2030. The utility will target
80% cuts to scope 1 (direct operations) and scope 2 (power purchases) emissions by
- A number of utilities have pledged in recent weeks to accelerate climate action plans
and to cut carbon emissions and achieve net zero emissions by 2050, including Ameren,
a utility that owns a large amount of coal. The Electric Power Research Institute
(EPRI) has celebrated the announcements, in particular their inclusion of energy efficiency and the use of alternative fuels.
National Grid's decarbonization efforts have been underway in the U.S. but the long-term
goal has no bearing on recent activity, such as a request to increase rates for its
upstate customers in New York an average of 4% for electricity customers starting
"The recent announcement does not have a direct impact on the proposed rates for customers
we filed in upstate New York," National Grid spokesperson Kevin O'Shea said in an
The New York rate case does include initiatives that the utility is pursuing to lower
emissions, including electric vehicle charging infrastructure investments, smart meter
deployment, "unprecedented investment" in energy efficiency and demand response programs,
and energy storage solutions, he said. The rate case includes an initiative to integrate
renewable energy into the New York utility's gas network, according to O'Shea.
Hydrogen will be playing a major role in the future, O'Shea said echoing contributed content from National Grid that was published on Thursday.
"Production of hydrogen from renewable electricity is the lynchpin that sits between
the two networks, and in the coming years, we will lay the foundation for hydrogen
by continuing studies and pilots, focusing on producing and blending it into our existing
gas network, and developing a transition plan that will lay out the changes required
in the existing gas infrastructure," O'Shea said.
The utility is participating in a hydrogen blending study with the New York State
Energy Research and Development Authority and the Stony Brook Institute to explore
the use of National Grid's gas infrastructure to integrate and store renewable hydrogen.
The Net Zero by 2050 Plan addresses hydrogen, along with a suite of clean energy technology,
such as offshore wind.
National Grid's announcement follows Ameren and Entergy's own 2050 goals. According
to EPRI, Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Southern Company, Xcel Energy, Public Service
Enterprise Group, DTE Energy and WEC Energy Group all pledged to reduce utility operations
emissions to net-zero by 2050.
"All of these utilities that have pledged to reduce emissions to net-zero by 2050
have sent a message to our industry that we need to continue our efforts to advance
technologies and alternative fuels that will underpin our environmental and sustainability
efforts," EPRI President Arshad Mansoor said in a statement.