Green gas: renewable electricity and beyond

Green gas

One of the ways for the UK to cut carbon emissions is by reducing the amount produced by using natural gas. So, introducing more green gas into the pipeline really has the potential to cut carbon emissions.

Green gas is biomethane, which is made from biogas or synthetic gas. These are created from either biomaterial waste or landfill waste. Both are sustainable sources that are turned into biomethane by removing some of their carbon dioxide. Biogas is carbon neutral, because the amount of carbon released when it’s burnt is the same as the plants absorbed while they were growing.

As the name suggests, biomethane is mostly methane. However, the amount you pay for gas is based on the amount of energy it produces, or its calorific value. So propane is added to biomethane to increase its calorific value, as well as water, and a smell so that it smells like gas. All this makes it pipeline quality gas which can then be added to the natural gas pipeline and used in existing boilers and cookers. While propane does increase the carbon footprint of biomethane, it’s still much lower on emissions than natural gas.

To date, green gas has mostly been used to generate renewable electricity. However, over the last couple of years there has been a surge in interest in biomethane. Around 48 new biomethane plants are expected to be built by 2021. When they’re all producing green gas, there’ll be around 50% more green gas available. But biogas can also be used to fuel heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), so there’s competition from the transport industry. Trials are currently taking place to assess what fuel sources could be a realistic replacement for diesel or petrol for HGVs.

Green Gas Certification Scheme

Green gas is registered with the GGCS on a quarterly basis. Every unit of green gas that is added to the pipeline replaces a unit of natural gas. So the GGCS tracks the ownership of the gas from its creation to its sale to the end user. It doesn’t track the physical flow of gas through the pipeline. It does this to avoid any double counting of the units of gas and to provide transparency about the source of the gas. The Scheme also helps consumers have confidence that the gas really is green.

Renewable Gas Guarantees of Origin

Each Kilowatt hour of green gas added to the pipeline gets a unique identifying number that is automatically created. The RGGOs are sold to the consumer when they buy the green gas, and then retired from the GGCS system. That’s because, at that point the gas will be used and so doesn’t need any further tracking.

If you’re interested in getting green gas for your business, you should talk to your supplier. It might be more expensive than traditional gas, but you shouldn’t pay the Climate Change Levy tax on green gas.

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