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National Grid Launches Bold Clean Energy Vision for Massachusetts and New York

April 21, 2022
Gas and electric networks to be fossil-free by 2050, critical milestones along the way.

National Grid recently launched a path to a more affordable, reliable clean energy future that enables customer choice and combats the increasing threats of climate change. With National Grid’s Clean Energy Vision: A fossil-free future for cleanly heating homes and businesses, the company has announced it will seek to eliminate fossil fuel from its gas networks, replacing it with renewable natural gas (RNG) and green hydrogen, while also maximizing energy efficiency and helping customers electrify their heat, if they so choose, in targeted areas.

“This fossil-free vision is an historic announcement for National Grid and the United States,” said John Pettigrew, chief executive officer, National Grid. “We have a critical responsibility to lead the clean energy transition for our customers and communities. 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.”

National Grid acknowledges that Massachusetts and New York have ongoing public proceedings to help guide implementation of the critical plans needed to fight climate change. The company is actively participating in those proceedings and will continue to engage in the public feedback sessions for the states’ climate action plans, highlighting the benefits of the fossil-free vision for all residents and businesses.

Fighting climate change requires significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions across the board. National Grid is tackling those reductions across the power sector, the transportation sector and — with this vision — the building heat sector, which is responsible for nearly 40 percent of emissions in Massachusetts and New York. Combined with targeted electrification and enhanced energy efficiency, a 100% fossil-free gas network can deliver a clean energy future that is more affordable and more reliable to over 20 million people across New York and Massachusetts. 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 clean energy transition: 

  • Affordable Pathway to Net Zero: Avoids costly and premature equipment upgrades for homes and businesses
  • Adds Clean Energy Choices: Customers can choose whether to fully electrify or continue using the gas network, which would be fueled by new, fossil-free energy
  • Protects Good Jobs: Protects thousands of union jobs for uniquely skilled workers
  • Improves Reliability and Resiliency: Provides added reliability and resiliency through diversification of clean energy sources
  • Cost-Efficient: Utilizes existing infrastructure, making it more cost-efficient for customers, and continues to utilize the highly skilled workforce

National Grid is committed to bringing this fossil-free vision to life in partnership with policymakers, regulators, and its customers. The report details the critical policies and regulations necessary to help safely, reliably, and affordably achieve this shared net zero vision on behalf of customers, including adoption of a renewable heating portfolio standard.

National Grid’s fossil-free and net zero vision creates a clear roadmap for decarbonization and addresses the hardest-to-tackle issues of how to cleanly, affordably, and reliably heat our homes and business in a cold northeast climate. The announcement comes on the heels of National Grid’s successful award of an offshore wind lease in the New York Bight in its joint venture with RWE, and an announcement of HyGrid, one of the first green hydrogen projects for blending hydrogen into homes in the U.S.

“As Chairman of the Assembly Energy Committee, I am excited by today's announcement that National Grid will be eliminating fossil fuels from their electric and gas systems by 2050. In order to achieve our state's climate and energy goals, there must be a commitment not only from the legislature but from the energy industry to transition our energy grid away from polluting fossil fuels. In today's announcement, National Grid demonstrated that commitment and their plans to eliminate fossil fuels is a tremendous step in our continued efforts to transform our energy sector,” said Michael Cusick, chairman of the Assembly Energy Committee, New York State Assembly.

“As a lifelong New Yorker representing almost 2000 natural gas utility workers across Long Island as well as another 8000 across the state, a reliable and affordable energy policy is priority one!  We need a PLAN, not a BAN. To achieve this, IBEW Local 1049 is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our business partners at National Grid in development of the clean energy vision for New York. We are excited to work on a plan that will achieve emission reductions to meet climate action goals of the CLCPA. This pathway will ensure that good paying jobs for generations to come will be protected while ensuring the production and reliable delivery of energy that will bring comfort and safety to the lives of our neighbors,” added Pat Guidice, business manager, IBEW Local 1049.

Renewable Natural Gas

Renewable natural gas (RNG) is an immediately available resource released into the atmosphere by decomposing materials at farms, landfills, wastewater, and other sources. 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 the existing infrastructure in place of natural gas, which is a fossil-fuel. This fossil-free energy is a double win in the fight against climate change.

Green Hydrogen

National Grid continues to lead the nation in offshore wind development, and these assets can be used to develop hydrogen through the process of electrolysis. Because the only byproduct of this production process is water vapor, the hydrogen produced is carbon-free. Hydrogen is particularly valuable because it can be stored for future use when conditions are such that the wind or solar assets are not producing high levels of power. This is a fossil-free way to decarbonize multiple sectors including heat, power generation, and transportation.

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