The UK could adopt solar, electric vehicles and batteries much faster than expected just a year ago, according to the National Grid. The new outlook is part of a rapidly changing landscape for the UK energy system, laid out in the 2016 Future Energy Scenarios. Marcus Stewart, National Grid’s head of energy insights, says in a foreword to the report: “We are in the midst of an energy revolution.” Carbon Brief runs through the key changes in the outlook compared to last year. The idea that the UK energy world is in the midst of a period of rapid and fundamental change has been gaining traction since the start of the year. The usually conservative National Grid is the latest of several industry and government groups to use the language of “revolution”. In February, a report for industry group Energy UK talked of a coming “revolution”, similar to those that have overtaken telecomms and banking. Then, in March, theNational Infrastructure Commission said embracing a “smart power revolution” could save the UK £8bn a year by 2030. The National Grid report and press release includes Stewart’s quote on energy revolution, as well as saying that “electricity supply is going through a period of unparalleled transformation”. However, the report fails to spell out exactly how much the National Grid’s scenarios have shifted since last year. They now see up to 39 gigawatts (GW) of solar installed by 2035, up from around 12GW today and up 7GW from last year’s maximum expectation for 2035 of 32GW. Two years ago, National Grid expected as little as 8GW and no more than 17GW of solar in 2030. Now, its minimum is 15GW. National Grid’s outlook has shifted in other important ways in this year’s scenarios. Notably, its range for gas demand in 2030 has been cut by up to 12%. By 2040, the need for gas is seen falling by between 8 and 33%, compared to today’s levels. All this suggests the National Grid sees the UK’s increasing dependence on imported gas, as highlighted by Reuters and Bloomberg, as being less severe than expected last year. This year’s scenarios also trim expectations for electricity demand, seen being some 3-4% lower in 2030 than thought last year. Demand in 2030 is now expected to be no more than 4% higher and up to 5% lower than today’s levels, easing the UK’s pressing need for new generating capacity.
Carbon Brief 5th July 2016 read more »
Renew Economy 7th July 2016 read more »
Government plans to electrify domestic heating and encourage a switch away from gas-fired boilers and radiators are “mad”, the boss of Britain’s biggest energy supplier has claimed. Iain Conn, chief executive of Centrica, the owner of British Gas, has attacked plans to encourage families to strip out their domestic gas-fired home central heating systems and replace them with electricity-powered alternatives. The scheme is part of efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 80 per cent by 2050. “This whole idea of electrifying everything is mad,” Mr Conn told the Utility Week Energy Summit conference in London yesterday. “We shouldn’t allow government to chase after the electrification of heat too quickly. They [will] get it wrong.” Nearly 70 per cent of all of the UK’s space heating comes from natural gas, contributing about a third of the nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The majority of domestic heating is provided by gas-fired boilers, with only 7 per cent of homes using electric heating. Mr Conn said that there were better alternatives available and suggested that more money should be channelled into research to find new ways of tackling the problem. He also said that the energy market was becoming increasingly muddled, with 48 different suppliers in operation. “I can’t keep up most weeks,” he said.
Times 6th July 2016 read more »
Andrea Leadsom, minister of state at the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), has reiterated the important role of nuclear power in the country’s current and future electricity mix. In a speech at the Utility Week Energy Summit about the Future of Energy in the UK yesterday, Leadsom said “energy security is non-negotiable, and is our top priority”.
World Nuclear News 6th June 2016 read more »