Crucially, the National Grid emphasised that the greatest challenge towards meeting future decarbonisation targets in the UK would not be in renewable electricity, but in boosting low carbon heat and transport, for which it urged for a “clear pathway”. “To do this in the most cost-effective way, approximately 25 per cent of heat and of transport need to be decarbonised by 2030,” the National Grid report argued. “This will allow us to continue on a pathway to achieve the longer-term target.” Looking towards a solution for decarbonising heat, another recent report by the H21 Leeds City Gate project set out how the UK’s gas grid could be incrementally converted to run on zero-carbon hydrogen with the assistance of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) – albeit at a potential cost of £2bn.So, with heat accounting for 45 per cent of the UK’s energy needs, the sector’s decarbonisation is clearly a pressing issue – although also, it would seem, an expensive one. Yet, another report last week argues making use of the UK’s existing gas network infrastructure could offer a practical and affordable means of tackling the issue – at least in comparison to the widespread electrification of the heating sector. Prepared by KPMG on behalf of the Energy Networks Association (ENA), which represents the UK’s energy network providers, the report considers the challenge the UK faces in reducing carbon emissions from heating – particularly for homes and businesses – over the next 35 years. Entitled 2050 Energy Scenarios – The UK Gas Networks role in a 2050 whole energy system, the report sets out four possible scenarios for the UK heating system through to 2050: Evolution of gas networks – whereby gas remains the main heating fuel; Prosumer – featuring an increase in self-generating heating alongside wider rise in electric heating; Diversified energy sources with different technologies used across the country; Electric future – based on a general switch to electric heating systems. The report concedes the future is most likely to see a mixture of these four possible scenarios, and that each comes with a set of significant logistical challenges that will need to be overcome.
Business Green 18th July 2016 read more »