Written by Beth Howell Updated on 17 October 2023 ✔ The UK is estimated to stop using gas after 2035✔ The government will phase out 80% of gas boilers from UK homes by 2035✔ Gas made up 35.2% of the UK’s energy mix in the first quarter of 2022The UK is at a crossroads – we can either continue relying on fossil fuels to power the country, or we can invest in greener alternatives. Thankfully, the UK government is pushing for the latter.Not only will this help the UK drastically reduce its carbon emissions, but it’ll also make it less dependent on other countries, such as Russia, for energy.You might be wondering how the government will pull this off – and, more importantly, how it’ll affect you.To give you a better insight, let’s take a look at whether the UK will stop using gas, how the government will execute this transition, and whether it’s a realistic goal. What’s on this page? 01 When will the UK stop using gas? 02 How will the UK stop using gas? 03 Are there any major obstacles to replacing gas? When will the UK stop using gas?It’s unclear when exactly the UK will stop using gas, but it certainly won't be until households have completely stopped using gas boilers.There's a long way to come down – the UK has gotten through around 78 billion cubic feet of gas annually since 2011.The UK is very reliant on gas. Not only do we use the stuff to power our boilers, but it’s also used to generate electricity.As you can see in the chart below, gas made up 35.2% of the UK’s energy mix in the first quarter of 2022, which is the second-largest source of energy, behind renewables.Ever wondered where the UK gets its gas from? Around one-third of it is imported from Norway, which holds the most gas of any European country. The rest of the UK gas supply comes from the Netherlands, Belgium, and Russia.Of course, we also rely on the North Sea for natural gas, but this supply could run dry by 2030.Will the UK realistically be able to ban gas?The UK can stop using gas – whether it will actually happen comes down to how the government introduces alternative fuels.A key example of this is the government’s plans to move away from Russian gas. Although the end goal is being praised by experts in the energy industry, the process is seriously flawed. Instead of pumping investment into renewable energy and other green alternatives, the government plans to focus on developing new oil and gas facilities in the UK, which won’t be up and running for another 28 years – a totally counterproductive move.That said, there are some promising signs that the UK is already reducing its reliance on gas. The government’s June 2022 Energy Trends Report states that gas demand fell by 12% in the first quarter of the year, compared to Q1 2021.However, one of the main reasons behind this reduced domestic consumption is a rise in average temperatures and the removal of most COVID-19 restrictions. And despite consumption falling, gas production increased by 5% in Q1 2022 compared to the previous year (whilst remaining lower than pre-pandemic levels). How will the UK stop using gas?Although there’s no clear-cut blueprint on how the UK will remove gas from its energy mix, there are a few projects in the pipeline that will help the country reach this goal, including:Increasing renewable capacityBanning gas boilersIntroducing hydrogen into the gas networkInstalling heat pumps and hydrogen boilersInvesting more in nuclear powerExpanding electricity storageIncreasing renewable capacityThe more renewables the UK has in its energy mix, the less it’ll need to rely on gas.Renewable energy capacity has already grown ten-fold since 2004, and is on track to continue this trend. Renewable energy sources even made up 42.8% of the UK’s total electricity generation between October and December 2021.As for this year, in Q1 2022, UK renewable generation increased by 9.3% compared to the same period last year, with wind and solar power leading the way.The UK still thinks more needs to be done on the renewable energy front, which our 2023 National Home Energy Survey makes clear — 78% of Brits want the UK government to invest in more renewable energy.Banning gas boilersThe UK government was initially planned to ban the installation of gas boilers in new builds by 2025, and ban the sale of gas boilers to existing homes by 2030, but Sunak reversed this decision in September 2023.Instead, the government will aim to phase out 80% of the UK's gas boilers by 2035.Introducing hydrogen into the gas networkOne of the main ways the UK will run without gas is by introducing hydrogen into the energy mix.Although hydrogen isn’t 100% emission free, it’s much more eco-friendly than fossil fuels – especially if you’re using ‘green hydrogen’, which is made by using clean electricity from surplus renewable energy sources.As it stands, low-carbon hydrogen is pretty expensive compared to fossil fuel alternatives, but the government’s UK Hydrogen Strategy states that it will significantly cut the costs by introducing a “similar premise to the offshore wind contracts for difference (CfDs)”.The transition to a hydrogen infrastructure won’t happen overnight – it’ll happen over the course of a few years, and will be delivered in three main stages:Phase one – New boilers will be built to be ‘hydrogen-ready’, which means they’ll be able to work with both natural gas and hydrogen. These boilers are set to be rolled out between 2023-2025Phase two – A 20% hydrogen and 80% natural gas blend will be introduced into the national gas supply to reduce emissions. British Gas has said that this isn’t expected to begin until 2028 at the very earliestPhase three – The gas supply will switch to 100% hydrogen, which will mean every new boiler sold in the UK will basically be a hydrogen boiler. This stage probably won’t happen until the mid-2040sFor a more in-depth explanation of the plan, check out our page on The UK Hydrogen Strategy Explained.Installing heat pumps and hydrogen boilersRoughly 85% of UK homes rely on gas to heat their homes. If the UK wants to move away from fossil fuels, it needs to find an alternative way to keep these properties warm during the winter.Enter hydrogen boilers and heat pumps – the two heating systems at the forefront of the government's home-heating plans for the next two decades.Hydrogen boilers work in a similar way to traditional gas boilers, except they use hydrogen – a cleaner energy source – to heat a property. These appliances work by burning hydrogen via combustion, which creates hot flue gases that can be used to heat water, or can be stored for later use.Unfortunately, hydrogen boilers are still in the prototype stage, but should be rolled out to the public by 2025. You can find out more about this on our page: A Beginner’s Guide to Hydrogen Boilers.Heat pumps, on the other hand, are already available to the public. There are three main heat pumps, which all work in a similar way, but with a different source of heat:Air source heat pump – Takes air from outside and uses it to run a property’s heating and hot water systems. It does this by absorbing outside heat and converting it into a fluid, before heating it with a compressorGround source heat pump – Heats a property by extracting heat from underground pipes, which absorb the Earth’s geothermal energyWater source heat pump – Absorbs heat from a body of water and converts it into heat for a property. It does this by using a series of submerged pipes that run from the water to the propertyThe main reason why the government is encouraging more people to invest in heat pumps is because of their environmental benefits. Heat pumps are more efficient than most traditional gas boilers, and since they run on electricity, they have the potential to be 100% renewable.Investing more in nuclear powerNuclear power capacity is gradually creeping up in the UK, which is why it currently accounts for 17.7% of the UK’s energy mix. Nuclear generation increased 8.1% in Quarter 1 2022 compared to the same period in the previous year – and this growth is set to continue.In a bid to phase out fossil fuels, the government is aiming to ramp up nuclear generation by installing more facilities across the country.In early 2022, then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson told nuclear industry bosses that the government wanted the UK to source 25% of its electricity from nuclear power. To kick start this project, Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng gave planning permission for a 3.2 gigawatt, twin-reactor plant at Sizewell in Suffolk.However, these plans have been met with a lot of criticism, since nuclear power isn’t 100% green. This low-carbon fuel still generates a lot more emissions than renewable energy – not to mention the power plants can have serious ecological impacts.Expanding electricity storageIncreased renewable energy capacity will be pretty useless without a place to store it all.The intermittent nature of some renewables, such as solar and wind power, means energy can be produced when it is not needed. For example, wind turbines can produce a lot of surplus energy in particularly breezy weeks, which is wasted if we’re unable to store it.That’s why the government is investing more into expanding electricity storage in the UK. In February 2022, the government stated that new storage projects around the UK will receive £6.7 million in government funding. Are there any major obstacles to replacing gas?There are two main obstacles when it comes to phasing out gas in the UK: the amount of investment needed, and the scale of the project. These two issues tend to go hand in hand.Since 85% of the UK housing stock relies on gas, transitioning away from fossil fuels is going to be a mammoth task.The sheer scale of the project means it will be a slow process. The government’s half-hearted action on phasing out fossil fuels will also continue to slow this down – although they’re making plans to be greener, they’re simultaneously opening up new oil and gas rigs on the North Sea.The scale of the project also means that the transition away from gas will be expensive for both members of the public and the government.As it stands, green heating systems tend to be more expensive than gas boilers. To encourage people to make this swap, the government will have to implement initiatives, such as the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, to reduce the cost for consumers.The government will also need to pump millions into the renewable energy sector to implement new developments and projects.There’s no denying that all of this will cost taxpayers a lot. However, the UK government has provided the oil and gas industry £13.6 billion in subsidies since the landmark Paris climate accord was signed in 2015 – money that could have been used for green initiatives.SummaryThere’s a long way before the UK can phase out gas from its energy mix – but it’s certainly possible.If the government sticks to its plans to ban gan boilers and ramp up renewable production, the UK should naturally taper off natural gas. However, there is some scepticism over whether the government will stick to its plans, or scrap them along with many of its past initiatives.We only need to look to Rishi Sunak’s Green Homes Grant to see how quickly green plans can fall through. Written by: Beth Howell Content Manager Beth has been writing about green tech, the environment, and climate change for over three years now – with her work being featured in publications such as The BBC, Forbes, The Express, Greenpeace, and in multiple academic journals. Whether you're after a new set of solar panels, energy-saving tips, or advice on how to reduce your carbon footprint, she's got you covered.