8 May 2024

The next episode in a series of podcasts discussing our journey towards net zero.

What can we learn from the past?

In this episode, Xoserve's Strategic Stakeholder Manager James Verdon is joined by Professor Russell Thomas, who recently published a paper on the transformation of the UK gas industry between 1949 and the end of the 1970s.

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James and Professor Thomas (Technical Director at WSP and Visiting Professor at the University of Strathclyde) discuss the challenges of the sector during the nationalisation of the gas distribution system, and what lessons can be learned to help with today’s decarbonisation agenda.

This episode covers:

  • How the gas distribution system changed between 1949 and the end of the 1970s
  • Why the industry’s large-scale transformation is possible and necessary
  • How past transformation initiatives can inform today’s decarbonisation agenda (challenges and lessons learned)
  • The role of training and upskilling in a rapidly evolving industry
  • The importance of communication and community engagement for a successful transformation programme

Lessons Learnt: Past Energy Transitions in the Gas Industry
draws on the experience of converting from town gas to natural gas in the 1960s and 70s. The project was commissioned by Wales & West Utilities and undertaken by researchers at WSP, in partnership with Northern Gas Networks. It demonstrates the implications of switching feedstock on the gas network and how this learning could be applied to a future transition to hydrogen.

You can read a summary of Professor Thomas' original publication on the Wales & West Utilities website.


Decarb Discussions: Dedicated podcasts exploring the road to net zero for the gas industry.

To access our latest episode, or to view a full list of others across the series, click the link below.

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If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions for our Decarbonisation Team, please email us. 

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