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Future Energy Strategies

August 15, 2016

By Paul Homewood




More on the FES:


The National Grid has produced, in their own words, “a credible set of Future Energy Scenarios”, based around four scenarios:




We need not pay too much attention to these, as it is really the Gone Green option that is being driven by the Climate Change Act.


Figure 3.1.1 looks at forward trends in electricity and gas demand. (Note that, as the Grid is only responsible for electricity and gas, consumption of coal and oil for non-power use is not considered).







Under the Gone Green scenario, electricity demand rises from 334 TWh currently, to 346 TWh in 2030, and 384 TWH by 2040.

This seems to me to be highly optimistic, given the drastic drop in gas demand, along with the ambitious assumptions about the uptake of electric cars, reaching 27% of cars on the road by 2040.

The implication is that there will be large scale energy efficiencies.

(It is worth noting that it was only a year ago that the Committee on Climate Change, in its Fifth Carbon Budget submissions, was suggesting demand would rise to 380 TWh by 2030).


However, it is the breakdown of the Gone Green scenario which is most interesting:





1) The first thing to note is just how little that solar power will be contributing, even by 2040. (Note solar is the darker red band, second from the top, not to be confused with nuclear).

Even by 2040, it will only be supplying 8% of UK’s power.

This really does give the lie to the nonsense continually peddled by the likes of Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, that solar panels will become so cheap and battery storage so efficient as to make solar power the energy of the future.

And remember, this is the most optimistic scenario. In other scenarios, solar output barely rises at all.

2) You might just spot the “Storage” band. Although it is said that this will generate 10 TWh annually by 2040, whoever wrote the report does not seem to have realised that storage technologies don’t actually produce electricity.

I find this slightly disconcerting, coming as it did from the National Grid!

3) Nuclear rises from today’s level of 62 TWH to 119 TWh in 2040, though there is a squeeze on capacity in the 2020s, as old plant shuts before Hinkley and the rest start up. (Yes, I know!)

4) Non existent CCS jumps from nothing to 80 TWh in 2040.

5) We become heavily reliant on obscenely expensive offshore wind, rising from 17 TWh to 71 Twh by 2040.

6) We also become more reliant on interconnectors, though presumably this is a two way thing.


The Grid don’t seem to have done much planning around what they might do if we don’t get all of the expected new nuclear, or if CCS cannot be made into a viable option, though the No Progression option summarises the situation well:





The problem, of course, is that carbon intensity stops falling after the early 2020s, once coal has been phased out. And this is not allowed under the Climate Change Act.



The full FES report is here:

FES 2016 interactive

  1. Joe Public permalink
    August 15, 2016 2:44 pm

    “4) Non existent CCS jumps from nothing to 80 TWh in 2040.”

    I was unaware CCS was a source of energy!

    It’s an energy sink; of that used to compress the plant food.

    • Dave Ward permalink
      August 15, 2016 7:12 pm

      My thoughts exactly. Presumably what they really mean is that 80TWh is going to be produced by fossil fuelled plants WITH CCS by 2040?

      • AndyG55 permalink
        August 15, 2016 8:05 pm

        Hopefully by then, the world will have woken up to the fact that CO2 is far better in the atmosphere than expensively compressed underground.

  2. August 15, 2016 2:45 pm

    Are you sure its from DECC
    ..and not a primary school project ?

  3. August 15, 2016 3:31 pm

    Reported today: “…renewable share of UK power surged to a record 25.1 pc in the first quarter of this year.”

    • August 15, 2016 4:53 pm

      Have you looked at how much wind and solar are contributing to total energy consumption?

  4. Green Sand permalink
    August 15, 2016 3:56 pm


    ‘FT: British Govt Should Seize Chance To Overhaul Eneregy Policy’

    “The biggest indictment of the present policy is its failure to deliver the capacity that Britain needs — despite saddling consumers with inflated energy bills. The country has spent billions on incentivising the construction of new plants. This year the subsidy bill will reach £5bn — more than 15 per cent of the total spent on power — and it is set to reach £9bn by 2020. […]

    The government needs to rethink its strategy. Rather than paying twice the going rate for power from huge new nuclear plants, for instance, subsidy support might be better directed backing research into the battery technology needed to deal with the problem of intermittent power from renewables. In the meantime, the UK needs to source thermal power at the lowest cost. The UK’s exit from the EU at least offers the chance to do things differently.”

  5. August 15, 2016 4:50 pm

    The lowest real cost power is from coal. The penalty / subsidy system will all unfold then all parties will blame each other, the EU, the weather and Russia.

    We could still save our coal fired power stations if anyone were interested in real economics.

  6. Swisspeasant permalink
    August 15, 2016 5:32 pm

    If interconnectors are a two way thing, this is not an overall source of energy either. They have not allocated any energy to supply the interconnectorder.

  7. August 16, 2016 1:17 pm

    Applying the wrong solutions to the wrong problem is only going to waste vast amounts of money and time. The public is being gouged horrendously for all this.

  8. Brian H permalink
    August 26, 2016 6:09 am
    Solves everything.

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