UK gas distributor opts for crowdfunding to help with hydrogen readiness

Gas pipe replacement in Pontefract. Image by Abundance Investment, Northern Gas Networks

March 24 (Renewables Now) - UK gas supplier Northern Gas Networks (NGN) is seeking to raise GBP 1 million (USD 1.4m/EUR 1.2m) on UK crowdfunding platform Abundance Investment Ltd to help make its pipes hydrogen-ready and cut carbon emissions.

The offering marks the first time a UK regulated energy distribution company has launched a green bond exclusively for retail investors, the companies said.

The funding will support NGN's pipe replacement programme, which is part of the company's plan for a net zero carbon network by 2050. More specifically, it will help to upgrade 2,900 km of NGN's network from metallic mains to polyethylene by 2026. This makes the network ready for hydrogen heating and also cuts emissions from day-to-day operations. NGN says that with the offering it wants to give customers an opportunity to participate in the energy transition.

According to NGN chief executive Mark Horsley "[r]epurposing the gas network to transport hydrogen is likely to be the least disruptive and most cost-effective solution to zero carbon home heating for the vast majority of the UK homes."

The company is demonstrating a hydrogen and natural gas blend with which it is expected to start supplying 670 homes in late spring 2021 for 10 months. It also plans live trials of 100% hydrogen in an unoccupied part of their network later in 2021.

The offering on Abundance was launched on Wednesday. The investment offers returns of 1.6% a year over a 10-year term.

(GBP 1 = USD 1.371/EUR 1.158)

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Browse all articles from Plamena Tisheva

Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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