Green gas takes a step closer to your home
Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 18 October 2013 at 10:41 am
The possibility of being able to buy truly green gas from the grid, has taken a step closer to realisation thanks to the arrival on the market of a second, certified supplier of 100 per cent green gas.
Ceres Energy has signed up to become the second registered supplier of biomethane under the Green Gas Certification Scheme (GGCS). The first, Barrow Shipping, already runs an anaerobic digestion plant that supplies the Prince of Wales’ ecotown of Poundbury, Dorset, among others.
Green gas, or biomethane, is largely produced from organic matter such as food waste, via a process known as anaerobic digestion.
Supporters of the scheme hope it will begin to be a viable alternative to natural gas, a fossil fuel extracted from the ground using processes such as the controversial fracking.
The green gas certification scheme (GGCS) is a new not-for-profit organisation aimed at increasing the credibility of the green gas market. The scheme works by tracking gas from injection to sale.
Each unit of green gas injected into the supply chain, displaces a unit of conventional gas. GGCS monitors these units, to avoid the danger of ‘double selling’ – a scandal that struck the green electricity industry when it was revealed that suppliers were selling more green electricity than they had actually bought.
Adnams brewery, which is not a member of the scheme, became the first company in the UK to inject biogas into the national grid when it installed its anaerobic digestion system in its Suffolk brewery in 2010.
But the amount of biogas available on the grid is still proportionally minute, and there is some way to go before green gas will be available to the domestic market.
Ecotricity, which is currently in the early stages of securing a partner to develop anaerobic digestion plants, says it is still at least two years away from being able to supply customers with a green gas tariff.
In its July 2013 report Future Energy Scenarios, the National Grid predicts that in 2035, even the best case scenario would see green gas making up only around 3.5 billion cubic metres (BCM) of the 50 plus BCM flowing through the grid that year.
Gilly West, spokesperson for the National Grid tells me: “There are a growing number of exciting local projects out there but in terms of having a proportion of green gas available through the national grid, we are still quite a way off.”
There are other impediments to the possible future availability of green gas tariffs. In November last year, the government announced plans to limit the number of tariffs energy companies can offer to just four. The announcement prompted five of the big six energy suppliers to drop their green electricity tariffs and if it becomes a reality, it seems unlikely that green gas will be high on the list of possible tariffs to include.
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