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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number NIA_WWU_2_17
Title Lessons from the Past: What can we learn from past energy transitions in the Gas Industry
Status Completed
Energy Categories Fossil Fuels: Oil Gas and Coal(Oil and Gas, Other oil and gas) 50%;
Other Cross-Cutting Technologies or Research(Environmental, social and economic impacts) 50%;
Research Types Applied Research and Development 100%
Science and Technology Fields SOCIAL SCIENCES (Business and Management Studies) 100%
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Project Contact
No email address given
Wales and West Utilities
Award Type Network Innovation Allowance
Funding Source Ofgem
Start Date 01 January 2023
End Date 31 August 2023
Duration ENA months
Total Grant Value £78,666
Industrial Sectors Energy
Region Wales
Programme Network Innovation Allowance
Investigators Principal Investigator Project Contact , Wales and West Utilities (100.000%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , Wales and West Utilities (0.000%)
Project Contact , Northern Gas Networks (0.000%)
Web Site https://smarter.energynetworks.org/projects/NIA_WWU_2_17
Objectives "The project will review the challenges that faced the British Gas industry from the point of nationalisation in 1949, through the many changes that were required for the industry to become more efficient and produce gas more cost effectively, so that it could compete with its main rival: the electricity industry. These changes were multifaceted across the industry from the feedstocks used in gas making to the structure of the industry itself. The information will be obtained through undertaking a deep dive into the published literature of the time, sourced from books published on the subject matter in question, industry reports, journals and transaction, and the wider media such as newspapers, films, and television (where they survive). These would be obtained from some of the specialist public and private archives; these archives contain over 30,000 documents and will provide a rich level of detail for the project. The research will investigate items covering the following areas:How the gas industry and its infrastructure were reorganised in 1949;How the industry managed the inevitable turbulence and change which occurred in the move from the high-quality gas coals it had been dependent on for so long, to look to new ways of producing or obtaining gas and the different avenue explored.How new feedstocks or gases were introduced to move away from coal;How natural gas was first obtained and utilised;The decision for converting to natural gas;Lessons learned from Regional TrialsHow the industry restructured itself to enable it to undertake the conversion programme to natural gas;The training of staff and importance of Research and DevelopmentConversion of gas appliances;Communications and Public Relations during Conversion;Safety and regulatory influences on the Conversion Programme;Collaborative working during Conversion;Customer Journey during Conversion;How the conversion programme was financed and what it cost. The collated information will be compiled into a high-level draft report, the findings of which will then be discussed with those current and former gas industry employees active in the industry in the run up to, and during the time of, the conversion programme to gauge whether it resounds with their own recollection of the events. The report would then be completed including any further information provided by those interviewed. The findings of the research will be used to inform the GDNs and wider gas industry of the processes employed and the reasoning for the decisions taken through a time of great turmoil which eventually led to a bigger and more successful gas industry. The key points will be compiled within a lessons learned section.A film will also be produced detailing the findings, containing archive footage and interviews. This will be produced by an independent production company. Data Quality Statement The Report will use information and data published from known and verifiable sources, this would include books published on the subject matter in question, industry reports, journals and transaction and newspapers, industry films and television programmes (where they survive. Any accounts given by those who worked in the gas industry during previous conversion to natural gas, will be provided as a written notes of the conversation.Where relevant data will be stored for future accessThe sources of information will be referenced within the report bibliography, with the names of the documents and articles obtained, the publisher and date (where relevant) and the Archive from which they were obtained. Measurement Quality Statement Information will only be used if it is from (or able to be traced back to) a verifiable published source as described in the Data Quality Statement. If information fails this test then it wont be used.The project is rated low in the common assessment framework detailed in the ENIP document after assessing the total project value, the progression through the TRL levels, the number of project delivery partners and the low level of data assumptions. No additional peer review is required for this project." "Obtain and Review Key Information Sources: The first activity is to obtain from specialist gas archives relevant information sources concerning those areas identified in the scope and would include information from, but not limited to; books, journals, transaction, technical reports, and newspaper TV/films. This task involves sifting through archives containing many thousand documents, benefit will be made of electronic indexes where they exists and the specialist knowledge of the subject area of those working on the project. These information sources would then the be read and the key information extracted for use in the next work package.Present the Findings as a Draft Report: Once the key documents have been obtained and the relevant information extracted it will be used to produce a short (≈60 page), focused report to ensure this project builds on what is already known. Compare the Written Account with the Actual Experience of those who worked on the Conversion Programme: This activity will involve speaking to those who were involved in the conversion process to establish whether the information we have obtained provides an account which concurs with their own experience. Conclude report: The additional information obtained in WP4 will be included within the report and the report will be finalised. Dissemination: A short film produced detailing the findings, containing archive footage and interviews. This will be produced by an independent production company." To produce and disseminate a report and film with a focus on two key areas. Firstly, the period running up to the conversion programme from the World War II, which led the industry through a wide-ranging restructure to enable the gas industry to become more efficient, and then through the 1950s and early 1960s where the industry had to look to new ways to produce gas. The second phase would be to look at the conversion programme from Town Gas to Natural Gas.
Abstract "The industry has undertaken many projects to look at the potential implications from a switch to hydrogen to the gas infrastructure, but it has not attempted to initiate any projects which could extract useful learning from its considerable long operational history, in particular the changes that occurred after World War Two and through to the conversion to natural gas. The industry is lucky that it has a very well recorded history; many documents were written at this time, describing the changes that occurred and the reasoning behind them. Many of these documents survive in obscure archives but are available to be viewed and in some cases be copied. This project seeks to provide learning from past energy transitions made by the gas industry, with a particular focus on the conversion program where the British Gas Industry transitioned from Town Gas to Natural Gas, and the important decisions that led to this."
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 01/11/23