Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Planning and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths AM and Assembly Member for Ogmore, Huw Irranca-Davies, have taken a closer look at a pioneering project that’s exploring the future use of smart hybrid gas and electric heating systems in homes.

Ms Griffiths and Mr Irranca-Davies visited a home taking part in the £5.2 million Freedom Project to see first-hand how the installation of 75 hybrid heating systems in a mix of private and social housing in Bridgend has delivered benefits.

The industry leading collaboration between gas and electricity network operators, Wales & West Utilities and Western Power Distribution, has demonstrated how hybrid heating can help fully decarbonise heat by 2050 while keeping disruption to customers to a minimum and energy bills low. Smart controlled hybrid heating allows flexible switching between renewable electricity and green gas based on cost and carbon intensity.

Chris Clarke, Wales & West Utilities Energy Strategy Director said:

“We were delighted to welcome both Ms Griffiths and Mr Irranca-Davies to see the Freedom Project and for them to hear directly from people who are reaping the benefits of hybrid heating. 

“Smart hybrid heating systems, with an air source heat pump and a high efficiency gas boiler, demonstrate the advantage of a whole system approach to the future energy system. Not only do they offer the opportunity to fully decarbonise heat by 2050, they also empower energy users – allowing them to optimise their heating system and keep their bills low. And importantly, means we can take advantage of the existing gas and electricity networks, avoiding long term costly and disruptive infrastructure upgrade work across our towns and cities.”

One of the residents to meet with Ms Griffiths said:

“We would be reluctant to use our heating before the hybrid heating system was installed, I was conscious of cost but now we are seeing huge savings. I feel more in control of my heating system and the home is always warm when we need it.”

Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Planning and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said:

“It has been fascinating learning about the innovative work being carried out by Wales & West Utilities and Western Power Distribution as part of the Freedom Project. It is imperative that we research into innovative low carbon energy sources and do everything we can to tackle climate change.

“Exploring the future use of smart hybrid gas in homes could make a massive difference to people’s lives and be a further boost to the use of renewable energy. I enjoyed meeting with people who have benefitted from the hybrid heating systems and hearing about how they’ve adapted to them.” 

The Freedom Project is funded through the Ofgem Network Innovation Allowance and uniquely brings together the gas and electricity network operators in a cross-sector trial to provide them with robust, field-tested data which can make a meaningful contribution to long-term whole-systems approach to network investment planning.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If anyone smells gas, thinks they have a gas leak, or suspects carbon monoxide poisoning, they should call us on 0800 111 999 and our engineers will be there to help, day or night.