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Peak Demand For Natural Gas

November 27, 2016

By Paul Homewood 


I posted an article about natural gas yesterday, showing that we would have to more then triple electricity generation to replace gas in the UK.

I mentioned that I had published a graph recently, estimating what peak demand might look like under such a scenario.

Unfortunately I could not put my hand on it, but thanks to Joe Public for finding it!


The graph comes from the Parliamentary Advisory Group on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), and was published in September 2016. It specifically deals with gas demand for heat, thus excluding gas used for electricity generation and other industrial purposes.

Naturally gas demand for heat peaks during winter months, but particularly so early mornings and evenings.

As the graph illustrates, whilst electricity demand currently peaks at around 50GW, gas demand frequently peaks at over 300GW. If this demand for gas had to be replaced by electricity, it would not only need massive increases in generating capacity, it would also necessitate a complete rebuild of the grid and transmission network as the current system would be overwhelmed.






The report states that residential and public sector emissions which are mostly from heating represented 18% or 73m tonnes p.a. of 2015 UK CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.

It continues:






Either way, CCS would be needed, otherwise the objective of the exercise would be nullified. If electrification is the answer, it would have to be produced with CCS as, even the report implies, no other sources of “clean” energy could begin to meet such demand.

And as for the hydrogen scenario, if you are going to use steam reforming, you have got to put the resulting CO2 somewhere.

Neither solution looks in any way to be practical, and certainly not affordable. 

This report rather sums up the lemming like attitudes of most of our MPs. They start with the objective of meeting the targets laid down by the Climate Change Act, and then perform ridiculous contortions to find ways of overcoming what most people would regard as unsurmountable obstacles.

Have not any of them got the guts and commonsense to stand up and say that we simply cannot achieve what the Act lays down, at least with the current state of technology? And then follow the logic, and call for the Act to be scrapped. 


My guess is that if things carry on this way, eventually gas will be priced out of the range of most people, probably with the help of a carbon tax. We have a very cold future to look forward to.  

  1. HotScot permalink
    November 27, 2016 7:38 pm

    “My guess is that if things carry on this way, eventually gas will be priced out of the range of most people, probably with the help of a carbon tax. We have a very cold future to look forward to.”

    But the state will be immensely wealthy and able to take care of us all. Just like Cuba, dontcha know.

    Vive la révolution, Comrades.

  2. 1saveenergy permalink
    November 27, 2016 7:39 pm

    “We have a very cold future to look forward to.”

    Particularly as the the sun has put his hat on & the climate looks like moving into a cold phase over the next few years

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      November 28, 2016 3:40 pm

      If you’re referring to the musical hall ditty I would suggest “the sun has taken his hat off and put his feet up for a nap” would be the nearer the mark.

      “The sun has put his feet up; gone to bed today.
      The sun has put his feet up and the cold is on its way.
      Now we’ll all be sorry; now’s the time to pay.
      The sun has put his feet up and he’s gone to bed today.”

  3. CheshireRed permalink
    November 27, 2016 8:24 pm

    There’s nothing like the cold hard practicalities of life to snap the delusional out of their day dreams. Money is usually one way and when it comes to politicians, voters placing their X in someone else’s box tends to focus minds sharpish. Ed Milibands ludicrous CC Act should be put to death forthwith.

  4. November 27, 2016 9:19 pm

    Thanks for the lesson Paul.

  5. John Peter permalink
    November 27, 2016 9:38 pm

    Murphy’s Law dictates that “if things can go wrong they will go wrong”. It is only a matter of time before we have power cuts as never seen since the Heath/Gormley fight, when I wrote my dissertation in candle light. There will be a high pressure like 1995 for weeks with -5C during day and -15C at least here is Scotland. A nuclear plant will have to close for maintenance and/or the inter connector will be closed due to French demand. There will be a three day week with industry closed. Then questions will be asked and perhaps it will dawn on our politicians that they will be given their proverbial P45 by the voters if they do not change course and ensure energy at an affordable price.
    If Trump ensures that an independent commission works its way from raw to final global temperature records and demonstrates endless “adjustments” to NOAA & GISS records each adding just a little bit of contemporary warming that can truly be classified as “pure man made global warming” then the process can possibly be accelerated. They may even discover CRU involvement.

  6. manicbeancounter permalink
    November 27, 2016 9:59 pm

    Eliminating natural gas usage is an important (and overlooked) part of achieving the central objective of the Climate Change Act 2008 – reducing UK GHG emissions by at least 80% of their 1990 levels by 2050. But it is a far from sufficient condition to achieve that objective. This also requires that most cars and public transport are electric as well. This may mean that electricity supplies might need to quadruple. At least with more variable demand-related charging rates it would mean that the off-peak demand would be increased more than the peak demand. Could mean that in the freezing still winter conditions people might end up having the choice of feeding the children or walking miles in the snow to work.

  7. tom0mason permalink
    November 27, 2016 10:15 pm

    If they plodders in office currently really want to push the public to all electric domestic energy, then small modular nuclear power becomes the only practical option.

  8. November 27, 2016 10:20 pm

    Currently about half of UK electricity is generated by gas. So if gas had to be taken out of the equation, how would double the amount of electricity be generated from other sources? Not going to happen.

    Don’t even mention CCS. Vastly expensive and unlikely ever to work on any significant scale, if at all.

    • Tim Crome permalink
      November 28, 2016 7:57 am

      Not only “vastly expensive” but also extremely inefficient with a significant amount of extra gas needed to generate the power to capture and store the CO2.

  9. November 27, 2016 10:23 pm

    The CCAct proves it is possible to stupidly legislate the impossible. That does not change reality. It only shows political ‘irreality’.
    The cellulosic ethanol mandate (Bush’s switchgrass) in EISA07 is another fine example from our side of the pond. Essay Wishful Thinking. EPA still mandating refiners use that which does not exist, then fining them when they don’t. Refiners get annual court relief from the unjust EPA fines, and then the same EPA charade starts over the next year.
    The cited report speculation on hydrogen reflects a very poor understanding of H2 containment, zero understanding of renewable winter intermittency, and zero understanding of the thermal energy inefficiency of electric heating. Gas can be 95% thermally efficient with an electriclly blown exhaust (I own a 95%propane furnace at the dairy farm). Nuclear power is about 35%, with another 10% lost in T&D. Say net ~31%.

  10. Graeme No.3 permalink
    November 27, 2016 10:46 pm

    Somebody had better tell these idiots to back off on reticulating hydrogen around town and cities. Unless they want to burn the city down.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      November 28, 2016 2:15 pm

      Yes, I had to rub my eyes and look again to see if I really read that hydrogen will be used instead of natural gas. In my days of explosive atmosphere work, hydrogen was used to provide the strongest test of an enclosure as it produces the highest shock wave. Also much easier to light than methane. Perhaps this is new way of population reduction while boosting the building industry.

  11. November 27, 2016 11:04 pm

    Has anyone asked the government why they would ever want to lower the amount of atmospheric CO2? Just what would such accomplish? How do you know?

  12. Svend Ferdinandsen permalink
    November 28, 2016 12:13 am

    It is allways helpfull to see some real figures. In the winter times 200 to 300 GW is needed to keep the homes warm, and the current electricity generation can hardly produce 50GW.
    Even with a green dream of heatpumps you would need 100GW more electric power, and you might get permafrost in densely populated areas.
    Janoschkas question is right to the point.

  13. NeilC permalink
    November 28, 2016 6:31 am

    When our idiotic politians realise that CO2 is not a dangerous gas at double or even 10 times the current level of 400ppm.

    Our submariners, in control of our nuclear fleet, work in conditions ranging from 400-10,000 ppm averaging 6,000 ppm.

    With 18 years of NO temperature increase but continuing increasing atmospheric levels of CO2, indicated that human emmisions are a negligable impact on temperatures.

    The CCA is the most ridiculous act on the statute books. If policy is to follow this act as they are doing it will ruin the economy of the UK. The sooner it is repealed the better.

  14. Ben Vorlich permalink
    November 28, 2016 8:05 am

    Personally I’d buy a couple of Aladdin Lamps with spare mantles which are excellent early 20th century technology providing both light, their primary role, and heat a secondary benefit. For heating these Domestic Liquid Fuel Heaters are popular in France. Fuel can be purchase in 20 Litre containers. Once purchased the only problem will be resupplies of fuel.

    • 1saveenergy permalink
      November 28, 2016 9:22 am

      Ben, not such a good idea in modern draft free/poorly ventilated buildings
      1. you are living with the products of combustion;
      2. oxygen levels are soon depleted;

      A 12v car battery connected to some 12v LED lamps like these –
      will give days of lighting

      Arctic clothing will keep you warm ; keep head covered at all times (huge heat loss) + hands & feet.

    • Joe Public permalink
      November 28, 2016 7:32 pm

      Seconded what 1SE says, adding that one of the products of combustion will be water vapour, and this *will* condense on cold surfaces (inside windows, cold external walls etc). This encourages black mould growth.

      The irony is, the heat needed to temper the increase in (cold air) ventilation needed to overcome those problems can often exceed the heat gain from burning the fuel!

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        November 29, 2016 9:40 am

        I bet neither of you have spent 20 years living completely without electricity. Changes your opinion on what is good, a combined source of heat and light (bottled gas, paraffin) to back up a solid fuel fire when the temperature outside is double figures minus is worth the risk. Remember that without heat black mould is not high on your list of concerns, suffocation may be but opening a door and letting in a bit of frigid air from the rest of the house is a pretty good remedy.

        I speak from personal experience of 20 years without electricity and the winter of 1962/63. For a couple of weeks we were sawing old fence posts in the kitchen and putting them onto the Rayburn within an hour or two.

      • Joe Public permalink
        November 29, 2016 7:50 pm

        Hi Ben. Yes, you’re correct. My comment reflected the ‘Elf ‘n Safety brigade’s missives.

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        November 30, 2016 8:30 am

        20 years free from electricity makes me very careful about having backup available. Having to break ice on an inside wc cistern and unfreezing pipes with hot water bottles through the night is not something I want to repeat.

        The collective memory of how to cope without electricity has gone. The consequences may be more serious than anyone imagines.

        Health and safety will be the first casualty.

      • 1saveenergy permalink
        December 1, 2016 7:54 am

        I spent 12 yrs off grid, surprising how little you need to survive…but you MUST have heat, it’s a hard way of life.
        After the 1st year, I used a water cooled Lister gen-set as a CHP unit & life got so much better (except cranking the bastard on a cold morning !!).

        We now have single phase mains, phone & water, but also have a gen-set + 1,000 liters of diesel, always have 6mths of heating oil & gas (cant chop or carry wood any more) & 2 mths supply of food.

        I’m astonished that in 21st century Britain a 3 day blackout will kill 1,000s; after a week there will be riots & 97% of our glorious leaders don’t care.

  15. roger permalink
    November 28, 2016 9:07 am

    Supply and demand on the grid is looking quite tight today with almost all components working near their maxima.
    Except for wind and the French interconnector, neither of which can be turned up right now.
    It is not even a cold snap today, just normal late November temps. and we are not looking good.

  16. Mike Higton permalink
    November 28, 2016 9:24 am

    Electrification of other sectors will add to those humungous peak loads. All of those train commuters rushing home on a fully-electric rail network. The car drivers will add more by plugging in their e-cars as soon as they get home.
    There is also some devilry in the detail. My home incomer is rated at 64A which is the standard, I believe. That equates to a max load of about 15kW. My gas boiler is rated at 21kW, add in a couple of appliances and that future e-car and I will need an uprated supply. Providing that for every house in the land will be a challenge.

  17. AndyG55 permalink
    November 28, 2016 10:29 am

    How much oil and gas is there under Gatwick airport ?

    How did it get there?

    If you are religious, you would know that there is only one being that could have put it there.

    It would be a SIN not to use what has been provided specifically for our use..

  18. NeilC permalink
    November 28, 2016 1:27 pm

    O/T Just had a look at the GFS 15 day model and it shows a cooling high pressure over the UK for the next couple of weeks, hardly an isobar to be seen.

    Should be interesting considering as of 1325 today we a near maxing on Nuclear, CCGT and only about 4GW of coal to the rescue. Wind 1.67GW 3.68%.

  19. Kevin B permalink
    November 28, 2016 1:41 pm

    The punchline of this incredibly expensive joke is that the Climate Change Act will not make the slightest difference to the climate. In fact, the much vaunted Paris Accords will make hardly a dent in the global temperature over the next hundred years, even if the wilder claims of the warmists were true and even if the states that signed the stupid agreement carry out their responsibilies to the letter. (Which of course they won’t.)

    So when the climate changes, which it will even though we’re not sure how it will change, our only recourse will be to adapt. And of course adaptation would be much easier if we hadn’t saddled ourselves with an, (even more), expensive and unreliable energy generation and supply system as mandated by the CCA, and if we hadn’t suffered the loss of wealth and industrial capacity that that pathetic attempt at ‘saving the world’ will bring.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      November 28, 2016 2:20 pm

      Even the dimwits in government had noted that when industrial jobs move abroad the CO2 ‘pollution’ just moves elsewhere. They didn’t then seem to be able to link that to loss of tax revenue and increases in benefit payments. I suppose they still believe the great green jobs myth. I suppose our demand for imported goods will slow as we get poorer and poorer and can’t afford them.

  20. Adam Lilley permalink
    November 28, 2016 1:54 pm

    you will also need to add a huge amount for electric vehicle charging

  21. Gerry, England permalink
    November 28, 2016 2:21 pm

    Sadly only a long and cold winter with a mounting pile of bodies is about the only thing that will get their attention.

  22. Athelstan permalink
    November 28, 2016 3:15 pm

    However, prospects for winter in the UK aren’t governed solely by tropical rainfall, there are other influences too. For example, the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO) experienced an unprecedented flip in February and is now back to westerlies this year. And although it is not the main factor, the westerly phase of the QBO is associated with milder wetter winters. Finally, the winds high in the stratosphere, circling the Arctic – around what is known as the Polar Vortex – are disturbed and weak at the moment. Although these winds are many kilometres above the surface, they can influence the strength and position of the jet stream, and this is helping to increase the risk of cold snaps in the UK.

    Adam added: “Historical weather observations and our latest computer model simulations agree that these factors are increasing the risk of a cold start to winter for the UK, but this is unlikely to persist through winter as a whole.”

    The record of recent winter outlooks has been encouraging, and the Met Office outlook has given good advice in recent winters for the UK as a whole. For example, last winter the mild wet stormy December and drier, cooler end to winter was picked up more than a month ahead.

    It is too early to make definitive forecasts of how wet, cold, snowy or stormy this winter will be and we will continue to assess the how the weather will develop through our regular monthly outlooks and shorter-term forecasts.

    I say!….. some new BS climactivist argot QBO – if you bloody well like? and I wasn’t aware that the polar vortex supposition was now received warmunist wisdom – what magick be this?
    Prognostication there came ~ so just about all bases covered, warmer, wetter, drier, cold, a bit, maybe, could, should, woulda.

    Bless my soul! and…………………..Weren’t the great and the good in Caversham, Bracknell, London, Exeter or wherever they are these days telling us all that they’ll be able to “accurately forecast” two years into the future and “soon” but not ……………………………..”soon” enough for this winter?


    I heard a blackbird this morn, singing for all his might and a mate, as the dark closes in, nature always thinks rekindle, rebirth and renewal, cold winter – huh maybe, maybe not and the earth will keep spinning [I hope] sailing imperiously around its star and all power to it ‘THE SUN’ – I say.

  23. Paul2 permalink
    November 28, 2016 5:19 pm

    Extremely cold this evening and everything at gridwatch is in the red zone, except of course, for wind and solar. We are fast approaching blackout territory.

  24. Paul2 permalink
    November 28, 2016 5:23 pm

    Not forgetting poor old Australia:

  25. Paul2 permalink
    November 29, 2016 2:55 pm

    Paul, can someone have a word with the fella who runs Gridwatch. It seems that it is out of date in terms of capacity, including wind which is larger than the 6 gig shown on the meter.

    • Green Sand permalink
      November 29, 2016 3:13 pm

      Try a refresh and/or check you have:-

      Wind Max on the dial is 8 GW, which NG would dearly wish it was producing rather than the present 1.72GW

    • Joe Public permalink
      November 29, 2016 7:48 pm

      As of the end of Sept 2016, overall UK wind capacity of all 6,954 turbines stood at 14,102 MW

      I understand that there is & has been a limit (6.5 – 7GW???) that can be accepted by the grid.

      Clive Best in a *comment* (April 23, 2015 at 11:23 am) on his blog states

      No – the metered wind output NEVER exceeds about 6.3GW. 100% would be 8.2GW. The reason is simply that the national Grid cannot handle more than 6.3 GW of wind power. This is what the constraint payments are all about. We all pay via the National Grid wind farms to disconnect from the Grid when the wind blows too strongly. Some days we pay a few wind farms a several million quid for a few hours disconnect!

      The main bottle neck is the transmission lines from Scotland to England. Scotland has some of the biggest wind farms with the strongest winds but can’t use the power locally. National Grid have plans to increase capacity which we will pay for through our bills. The wind farms get off ‘scot free’ and can’t lose. whatever happens.

      There is no point in building any new large off-shore wind farms until the grid gets updated. This is the hidden cost of wind – several billion quid in power lines all over our countryside.

      We’ve added windmills since Spring 2015, but I doubt the grid could accept 100% output from 100% of our windmills.

    • tom0mason permalink
      November 29, 2016 8:20 pm

      Looking at the power generated from wind (graphs at the bottom of the gridwatch screen) over the year, wind power NEVER gets to 6GW.
      So why make the meter show more?

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