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Ecotricity began with a mission to replace electricity made by burning fossil fuels with green energy. We succeeded and now we aim to replace fossil fuel natural gas with sustainable green gas.

By Olly Rose
22 Sep 2021
Save boilers

Today we launched our latest campaign with the Daily Express, it’s a campaign to save our gas boilers - from the government. And their plan to replace them all with heat pumps.

Our founder, Dale Vince, explains how we can go carbon zero for heating our homes quicker and more cheaply using green gas – made from grass.

“Boris Johnson wants to take away your gas boiler. It’s a bold proposal, designed to tackle the climate crisis - and it would be a big step towards zero carbon as a country, ending the use of fossil gas in our homes. But it makes no sense.

The idea is for everyone to have a device called a heat pump. It’s green technology, I should be in favour of it right? But I’m not.

The gas boilers we have are actually the best choice for that job. To heat our homes.

So today Ecotricity and the Daily Express launch a new campaign - to save Britain’s gas boilers.

The big news is this, we can keep our gas boilers, and still eradicate carbon emissions from home heating and we can do this faster, cheaper, more simply and with less hassle or waste - than using heat pumps.

All we have to do is change the gas we use - replace fossil gas with green gas. How we can make that gas and the amount we can make will surprise you - but first let’s look at what the government are proposing, and what it will all cost.

Heat pumps work like a fridge in reverse - they use electricity to make heat (instead of cold). It’s not a new idea - the most commonly available are air source - they take heat from the air. The plan is to put one in every home.

They’re expensive to install, at about £8k per house - £150 billion for the whole country. And expensive to run, about £400 per year more than using a gas boiler per household. That’s another £7 billion a year on our nation’s energy bills.

Worse still we will need to generate up to three times more electricity than we do now to power these new devices. And we will need to upgrade the grid to deliver this huge increase in electricity demand.

The total cost of heat pumps in every home, the energy to power them and grid to deliver it - is approaching £300 Billion. A mad sum of money.

Especially when we can do the same job for a fraction of the price.

All we actually need to do is replace fossil gas in the grid with green gas. We can make that green gas ourselves, as we do with green electricity. It’s easy enough.

See more about our calculations here

We can keep the gas grid we have, keep our home appliances - and just change our gas.
Ecotricity have pioneered a new way to make green gas - using grass, something Britain has in abundance.

The total cost of a national green gas program - is just £30 billion. One tenth of the price of a heat pump program. With zero % of the hassle, upheaval and waste. And with some big upsides.
It will create almost 100,000 jobs in the rural economy (farming needs that) and create vast wildlife habitats into the bargain.

And, particularly relevant right now, we can end our dependence on global markets for the gas we need. Right now we have an energy crisis, driven by our almost complete dependence on others for our gas. It’s not the first and won’t be the last time that global issues dictate British energy bills. But we can end it. We can end the scourge of constantly rising energy bills.

Within ten years we could be Energy Independent in Britain for our gas. We actually have enough marginal grassland to make enough green gas to power all of our homes.

Making our own gas will free us from global fossil fuel markets - and it’s a key part of building a green economy, replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy, made right here. With all the economic benefits of jobs and industry based here.

This is not theory. Existing technology known as anaerobic digestion does the job. Working like a cow’s stomach, fed with grass like a cow - but with the methane harnessed and used to power our country, rather than power the climate crisis. Our only by-product is fertiliser. The thing (well, one of them) that Britain is critically short of this week.

Green gas diagram

Britain’s first grass fed, green gas mill is being built in Reading. This time next year it will be pumping green gas into the grid and powering 4,000 local homes.

Our government needs to wake up and smell the freshly mown grass, the answer to the question - how do we heat our homes and fight the climate crisis? - is growing right under our feet.”

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