An update from Mark Horsley, our Chief Executive Officer
Dear Redcar Residents,
Following the news that Whitby, near Ellesmere Port is no longer being considered as a hydrogen village location, we are working closely with the Government on our demonstration of hydrogen for home heating in Redcar.
The Government is currently reviewing our Redcar project proposal before setting out the next steps. We then hope to be able to provide more detail – such as what home upgrades will be provided.
We realise that our project brings concern to some, and a certain amount of disruption to the local area. I want to reassure you that we are working hard to make sure that all those involved will directly benefit from the project and will never be left out of pocket or with any negative impact on their homes.
Northern Gas Networks is responsible for safely and reliably delivering gas to your homes and businesses. As you all know, we will have to stop using natural gas in the coming years to help with climate change, but also to make energy cheaper for the UK in the long term.
So what can we replace natural gas with? We have two options – electricity and hydrogen. The real answer is we need both, as they provide different things. But we can relatively simply and cheaply repurpose our existing gas pipes for hydrogen and replace your gas boiler with a similar hydrogen boiler, with minimal disruption to your homes and community.
There has been lots of misinformation about hydrogen circulating. To be clear – we will never install anything in or near your homes which is unsafe or does not work. The use of 100% hydrogen in people’s homes and businesses follows over five years of research to check hydrogen can be supplied and used safely, with the HSE reviewing all the evidence.
And this is not just about hydrogen or net zero – or the houses that will be converted. This project will benefit the wider Redcar area and Teesside. It will bring more investment to Redcar, regenerating homes and businesses and creating new jobs – local gas engineers will be able to train in hydrogen appliances at Redcar and Cleveland college, and we will need new project managers and a customer service team. One of the main reasons Redcar was chosen to convert to hydrogen is the plans to produce green hydrogen in the local area, creating further new jobs in the local area.
We have had excellent engagement from so many of you already and thank you for your support. It’s due to this engagement that we have been able to make sure our proposals offer what you want to see, including using local engineers and offering participation payments. The majority of residents are positive or neutral about our proposal, and we are always here to talk to anyone who needs more reassurance or is seeking answers to their questions.
We look forward to updating you all with further details on next steps, and will continue working with the Government in the meantime.
Chief Executive Officer at Northern Gas Network