Energy and Climate Change CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by the Energy Networks Association (ISG 19)

Energy Networks Association (ENA) welcomes the opportunity to provide written evidence to the Energy and Climate Change Committee inquiry on the Impact of Shale Gas on Energy Markets. ENA represents the interests of its member companies who operate the national and regional networks for energy to transport gas and electricity into UK and Ireland homes and businesses.

This response is made on behalf of ENA’s Gas Distribution Networks (GDN) members who comprise of Scotia Gas Networks, Northern Gas Networks, National Grid Distribution and Wales & West Utilities.

Our members believe that Shale Gas has a place in today’s energy mix, although we do not see it as the “game changer” that it has become in the United States.

Shale and unconventional UK gas reserves do have a role to play in helping diversify supply, improve security and provide downward pressure on prices.

Gas offers the flexibility for power generation working alongside renewable technologies that currently can only provide intermittent energy supplies. Gas is cleaner than coal and produces less carbon emissions than oil, indeed many studies carried out both by ENA and other organisations have demonstrated that gas can also assist the UK in achieving its climate change obligations.

Most recently, ENA has commissioned Delta Energy and Environment to carry out a study to look at 2050 Pathways for Domestic Heat, this study, due to be released on 16 October, demonstrates that by keeping a variety of options open to decarbonise heat gives lower risks, and potentially a lower cost path that pursuing a narrower end point.

Furthermore, given the importance of gas to the UK’s electricity system, developing Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is vital to ensuring the decarbonisation of the electricity sector and maintaining security of supply. If there is significant development of shale gas in the UK or elsewhere in the world, then the importance of developing gas CCS only increases.

The UK has a distinct comparative advantage on developing gas CCS, given its strong academic knowledge base, existing offshore oil and gas engineering expertise, accessible offshore storage sites and existing penetration of gas plant on the electricity system. If there is strong government support, gas CCS can prove a world-leading export industry for the UK and play a vital role in ensuring the electricity system is decarbonised by 2030.

I trust that you will give our submissions due consideration and we would be happy to discuss further on behalf of our members.

October 2012

Prepared 25th April 2013