This year the UK has been setting record after record for the most coal-free days. As renewable energy sources increase, the pathway towards a low carbon, or even net zero, electricity system becomes clear. It therefore makes sense that energy suppliers are now turning their attention towards the UK gas supply and looking for ways to reduce the emissions associated with household gas consumption.
Larger suppliers essentially have one credible option for providing a carbon neutral ‘green gas’ offering to their customers right now: they can source as much renewable biomethane as possible and they can offset the remaining gas emissions through verified emission reduction programmes.
Unfortunately, biomethane alone is not a realistic solution as there simply isn’t enough available now to supply all UK households. Although over £400 million is already being invested in new production facilities by the end of 2021, it will take time for these facilities to come online and they still will not be sufficient for meeting the UK gas demand. The UK biomethane market is still hugely reliant on government subsidy (through the Renewable Heat Incentive), which is due to end in 2021. This lack of clarity on future support for the industry creates uncertainty and questions around its long-term growth. The sector is ripe for growth, but it won’t happen overnight.
In the meantime, customers are asking suppliers to help them reduce their climate impact. They don’t want to wait years for technology to catch up, particularly as offsetting with verified or certified Emissions Reductions or carbon credits from high quality projects provides a solution now. Offsetting works by measuring the amount of carbon emissions associated with gas consumption, and funding programmes which ensure the removal of the equivalent amount of emissions elsewhere. It is part of a three-step process in becoming net zero.
- The first step is to eliminate as many emissions as possible, in this case by cutting back on unnecessary consumption.
- The second step is to reduce the impact of the consumption which cannot be eliminated, which is effectively done by taking advantage of the biomethane which is available.
- Offsetting with credible, high quality projects helps to balance out the impact of the remaining, unavoidable emissions. In the case of the UK gas market, it is only possible to reduce a small percentage of the associated emissions (because of the lack of biomethane available), without offsetting.
Bulb is on the forefront of the green gas revolution. They are the largest supplier of biomethane in the UK and announced this year that they are providing 100% carbon neutral gas as standard for all their members. To balance out the emissions of their over 1 million members, they utilise a combination of renewable biomethane and carbon offsets from emission reduction projects, making the gas they supply as green as possible – now. We ensure that Bulb’s carbon offset portfolio is in line with international best practice, and that all of the carbon reduction projects that Bulb support are delivering robust, verified Emissions Reductions certified to one of three leading international carbon standards (the Gold Standard, Verra, CDM).
Because of our work on the ground, we are also able to craft a portfolio of projects that delivers a wide range of other positive impacts around biodiversity and wildlife protection, health, economic and gender empowerment and much more. Bulb confidently communicates this approach to their members, using their website to highlight UK biogas generators and to share information on the international emission reduction programmes they are supporting.
Responsible energy suppliers recognise that the time for action is now.
The next ten years will be critical in helping the fight against climate change. We need to go further, go faster and when it comes to providing a carbon neutral gas product, investing in emission reduction programmes is currently the only viable and credible solution for large suppliers who want to act now to help their customers reduce their impact on the climate.