UK energy mix needs less gas, more renewables
A report by the UK Energy Research Centre suggests that natural gas needs to make up just 10% of the country's power generation in order to meet emissions targets by 2050.
This means a significant reduction in the use of gas over the next 30 years, contrary to government plans for gas-fuelled generation to act as a bridge to a carbon-free future.
A failure to develop Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology is cited in the study as the reason why gas-fuelled generation at intended levels is incompatible with carbon reduction targets. As a result, greater investment in renewable energy is urgently needed in order to make up the deficit.
Following announcements in November that coal-fired power stations would be phased out in the UK by 2025, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said that nuclear and gas-fuelled generation would fill the gap. However, Professor Jim Watson of the UK Energy Research Centre cautions that without CCS, there is limited scope for gas to act as a bridge if the government intends to meet its legal obligations of an 80% cut below 1990 levels of carbon emissions in 34 years' time.
Last year the government cancelled a £1 billion competition to develop CCS technology and the report suggests that, as a result, the processes may not be available when needed. At the same time, under the current capacity market, gas-fuelled power stations are not appealing to investors as they are unlikely to generate satisfactory long-term returns.
Published by Green Jobs Online - 24th February 2016