ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- By 2050, National Grid said it wants to be fossil-free. The company said this means replacing fossil fuels in its gas networks in favor of renewable natural gas (RNG) and green hydrogen.
This change is not only happening in New York. National Grid said this will happen in Massachusetts as well as the United Kingdom.
“We have a critical responsibility to lead the clean energy transition for our customers and communities,” said Chief Executive Officer, John Pettigrew. “Just as we are investing in renewables like wind and solar to decarbonize the energy running through our electric network, we are committing to decarbonize our gas network by transitioning it completely to renewable natural gas and hydrogen by 2050 or sooner.”
RNG is fully interchangeable with conventional natural gas, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. National Grid said this makes using RNG affordable because there won’t be any cost to upgrade existing infrastructure.
RNG comes from landfills, manure, and wastewater plants. “RNG provides a double benefit as greenhouse gas can be captured before being released and therefore before it impacts our climate. We can then harness and purify it to flow through our existing infrastructure in place of natural gas,” National Grid said.
Green hydrogen can be produced by renewable energy sources and its only byproduct is water. It can be used in both a gas and liquid form, can be converted into electricity or fuel, and can be made in a variety of ways, said Columbia Climate School.
“Hydrogen is particularly valuable because it can be stored for future use when conditions are such that our wind or solar assets are not producing high levels of power,” National Grid said. “This is a fossil-free way to decarbonize multiple sectors including heat, power generation, and transportation.”
New York has set an ambitious goal of powering the state with 100% renewable energy by 2050. The Climate Act requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85% from 1990 levels by 2050. The Public Service Commission (PSC) said it is working alongside the Department of Public Service (DPS) to make sure electric and gas companies comply with the Climate Act.
“The PSC and DPS have already taken significant steps to ensure that electric and gas utilities comply with the CLCPA, including increasing energy efficiency and other programs that reduce gas demand, increasing access to cleaner energy alternatives such as electric vehicles, supporting renewable energy development such as solar and wind, and electrifying appliances such as space and water heating,” PSC said Friday.
The Climate Act requires the electricity sector to have zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, according to PSC. “National Grid’s fossil-free vision will not only achieve a net-zero energy future and achieve the climate goals of the states in which we operate, but it will also provide additional, affordable clean energy choices so no customer or community is left behind on our clean energy transition,” National Grid said.
Additionally, National Grid said the move to using RNG and green hydrogen will give customers a choice to go fully electric or use RNG, protect jobs, as well as improve reliability and resiliency of services. They said it will also be more cost-efficient.