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Gas needed for low-carbon targets says National Grid

April 8, 2018

By Paul Homewood



Bit by bit, some reality appears to be intruding into the make believe world of the Climate Change Act:



No credible scenario’ exists for hitting the UK’s 2050 decarbonisation targets without continued reliance on gas, the National Grid has warned.

In a new report, entitled The Future of Gas: How gas can support a low carbon future’, the grid says that it is not feasible to switch over to electric heating on the scale required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 per cent of 1990 levels by the middle of this century.

To fill the gap required to meet peak heating demand during the winter with electricity would require a seven-fold increase in generation capacity.

It says that while electricity demand currently peaks at around 60 GW, up to 350 GW of electricity would be required during winter cold snaps.

“Electrifying heating would therefore require enormous increases in generating capacity and electricity network infrastructure, much of which would lie idle in the summer when heating is not needed. Using the gas system has the potential to reduce the volume of generation and reinforcement work required.”

It says that a mass switch over to electric heating would also be ‘disruptive’ and ‘expensive’.

The alternative route to electrifying heating, involving a mass roll out of heat pumps, could only be achieved in combination with gas in order to continue to meet peak demand on colder days,

“Through all of our analysis we are yet to identify a credible scenario that meets the 2050 carbon targets without gas,” concludes the report, which was published on Friday.

The grid says that needs to take immediate action to remove the policy gaps and barriers preventing the conversion of the gas network to low carbon fuels, like hydrogen and bio-methane.

It says that the government must provide clarity on its preferred pathway to decarbonise heat ‘as soon as possible’ in the early 2020s in order to give industry the confidence to invest.

The government has said it will decide by the middle of the next decade about long term moves to decarbonise the heat system.

The report expresses concern that the government’s timescales and process for subsequent decision making about the decarbonisation of the heating system remains ‘unclear’.

It estimates that around 20,000 existing gas boilers will need to be replaced every week in order to meet the 2050 target.

The report also calls for the first carbon capture and storage projects to be up and running by the 2020s in order to ensure that the technology can be deployed at scale in the following decade.

Responding to the National Grid report, Dr Luke Warren, chief executive of the Carbon Capture Storage Association, said: “The UK relies on gas to heat homes, and to support industry. By removing emissions, CCUS enables gas to have a long-term future in a low carbon economy. This will provide value to consumers against more costly alternatives. The Committee on Climate Change also recently concluded that the Government should plan to meet climate targets without CCUS as this would be highly challenging and much more costly.

“Industry and government must now work together to deliver a CCUS Deployment Pathway that enables the UK to benefit from this critical technology.”


The National Grid report presents a stark vision of a future without gas:





The report talks about hydrogen networks (which will need CCS anyway), and CCS fitted gas fired plants. We already know just how horrifyingly expensive the first option would be, and the second remains pie in the sky.

Meanwhile the Climate Juggernaut trundles on regardless.

  1. April 8, 2018 12:52 pm

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    AMUSES me every time: fossil fuels needed to reduce fossil fuel emissions to meet anti-fossil fuel Paris commitments. 🤦‍♂️

  2. Dave Ward permalink
    April 8, 2018 1:19 pm

    “No credible scenario’ exists for hitting the UK’s 2050 decarbonisation targets without continued reliance on gas, the National Grid has warned”

    One can only hope that a statement like this from National Grid itself may….just MAY get through the seemingly impenetrable skulls of our “representatives”. If it doesn’t, we are truly & utterly screwed…

    • April 8, 2018 4:09 pm

      This has been obvious to all credible engineers/scientists ever since the CCA was voted on by the idiots in parliament. It has so far been impossible to get the message through to the PTB. Will this get through?

      • keith permalink
        April 8, 2018 5:17 pm

        No chance. Our idiot Energy Minister will just keep her head buried in the sand.

      • Adam Gallon permalink
        April 8, 2018 5:25 pm

        Since nobody can get through to the idiots in Parliament, that an exit from the EU is only possible via Efta/EEA as a staging post, without completely tanking the economy, the chances of this getting through are minimal. After all, renewables are cheap & getting cheaper, aren’t they!

    • Athelstan permalink
      April 8, 2018 11:26 pm

      how thick are they?

      claire perry and mother theresa and that’s as thick as the Bowland Sequence.

  3. dennisambler permalink
    April 8, 2018 2:05 pm

    CCS is the magic wand that is waved to claim we will meet our climate “targets”. We are spending huge amounts of money, so that proves we are not defaulting on “Paris”.

  4. mwhite permalink
    April 8, 2018 2:14 pm

    “The alternative route to electrifying heating, involving a mass roll out of heat pumps, could only be achieved in combination…….”

    Imagine a large city with every home heated by a heat pump. It’s winter and a severe frost is forecast for tonight.

    • Joe Public permalink
      April 8, 2018 4:04 pm

      “…. It’s winter and a severe frost is forecast for tonight.” – ideal ‘lull’ weather.

  5. John F. Hultquist permalink
    April 8, 2018 2:39 pm

    No credible scenario’ exists for hitting the UK’s 2050 decarbonisation targets

    Change the targets.
    Problem fixed.

  6. Chris Lynch permalink
    April 8, 2018 2:42 pm

    The Irish edition of the Sunday Times features a weekly comment section by a meteorologist called Gabrielle Monaghan. Miss Monaghan has a long record of unquestioning support of the CAGW position and assertions that are contradictory or downright false. In today’s edition she claims that the current fodder crisis in the agricultural sector in Ireland is linked to climate change causing extreme rainfall and prolonged springtime cold preventing any grass growth until the cusp of summer. Quite aside from the fact that this flatly contradicts previous positions she has adopted claiming that spring is beginning much earlier and becoming much warmer in this country I am aware that there is rainfall data that proves that there is no long term increase in rainfall in Ireland. I intend to go after her in the letter pages on these issues and I would like to have my ducks in a row. I wonder if anyone could help me with some links to reliable data that would assist me in this regard?

    • April 8, 2018 3:06 pm

      It appears that Ireland has had its highest amount of rainfall on record in recent years, but it may just be due to a carefully selected averaging period giving a tiny excess on the previous maximum. The AMO must play a substantial role. The following article describes the recent construction of a long (300 year) rainfall record:

      To complain about a bit more rainfall is crazy, given that some places (such as Cape Town) are suffering from droughts, especially in Ireland whose economy is heavily reliant on the conversion of grass to meat, milk and butter.

    • April 8, 2018 4:03 pm

      Here is a 2015 study involving Met Eireann, explaining Irish temperature/rainfall variations in terms of natural AMO variability:

      But “global warming” is likely also involved to some extent, due to “secular” increases in sea surface temperatures.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      April 9, 2018 12:46 pm

      Try WUWT. I believe there was something recently about rainfall in Ireland in an article about the Svensmark cosmic ray cloud seed theory.

  7. April 8, 2018 2:45 pm

    National Grid has ZERO credibility when pontificating about future energy supplies, given that it profits from supplying and maintaining the infrastructure, and appears to have the regulator (OFGEM) in its pocket.

    Even the USA, capitalism central, has not-for-profit grid operators. No need to nationalise NG, just make it subservient to a proper regulator with top-down system design capabilities.

    • pochas94 permalink
      April 8, 2018 3:42 pm

      “proper regulator with top-down system design capabilities”

      Bad idea.

  8. Roger Graves permalink
    April 8, 2018 3:26 pm

    What is really amusing about converting to electric heating for domestic purposes is that the electric power required will very likely be generated using gas fired power stations. A typical gas fired power station has a thermal efficiency of 40% at best, so it throws away 60% of the heat generated by its gas furnaces (that’s why thermal power stations have cooling towers). Now take into account the transmission losses from the power station to the domestic heater, and you would be looking at an overall thermal efficiency of about 33%.

    Contrast this with the 80-90% efficiency of a modern domestic gas furnace (i.e. 80-90% of the heat generated is retained within the house rather than going up the chimney), and it becomes apparent that heating one’s house with gas is two to three times more efficient than heating it with electricity generated in a gas-fired power station. Or to put it another way, if reducing CO2 output is your priority, domestic electric heating will result in two to three times as much CO2 being produced as will gas heating.

    On the other hand, since we undoubtedly live in a CO2-impoverished atmosphere, perhaps we should encourage electric heating for this very reason?

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      April 9, 2018 10:50 pm

      I think you’re being a little unkind to modern CCGT power stations. In ideal conditions, they can run at efficiencies of over 60%, but given the ramping required to match variations in grid demand, that is probably reduced to 50-55%. Of course, you would have to allow for carbon capture if you were going to enforce that – which would radically lower efficiency. I’m not sure that you could even begin to attempt CCS on a domestic boiler in any sensible fashion either. Grid losses between power station and consumer are about 7% of electricity sent out – but pumping gas to consumers has a similar energy cost, so those effectively about cancel out. Your main point does remain valid, even when comparing against an old gas boiler that might be no more than 70-75% efficient (but much more reliable than the new fangled condensing boilers that only seem to last 5 minutes).

  9. Bitter@twisted permalink
    April 8, 2018 3:51 pm

    A timely reminder to our idiotic government that the country that has done most to reduce its CO2 output is the one that was demonised for (rightly) pulling out of the Paris fudge.

  10. April 8, 2018 4:17 pm

    Gas (58.6%) and nuclear (20.1%) running the show at the moment. Wind on a feeble 0.7%.

  11. The Old Bloke permalink
    April 8, 2018 7:55 pm

    But what about all those electric cars we are going to have to use? Where is the electricity coming from for them?

  12. MrGrimNasty permalink
    April 8, 2018 8:07 pm

    The Mail on Sunday had a list of various ways to keep your energy bills DOWN – heatpumps, solar panels etc. They listed the cost and then the saving per year. They seemed oblivious to the fact that, according to their (optimistic?) figures, the payback on these things was 10-20 years. This is assuming no further maintenance costs whatsoever. Call me stupid, but I doubt a heatpump will last 20 years, or solar panels much more than 10, before they need total replacement.

    None of these ideas (including thorough insulation) actually save you money, you merely pay upfront, and also further add to the increase in energy prices with the renewable scheme paybacks.

    Completely bonkers.

  13. J Martin permalink
    April 8, 2018 8:41 pm

    The only possible way to move to electrification is to build nuclear power stations and then encourage householders to install heat pumps via good old fashioned bribery, know in modern parlance as subsidies.

    I can’t see any way they can physically install 20,000 a week. So it’s basically not going to happen.

  14. Athelstan permalink
    April 8, 2018 11:44 pm

    “The only possible way to move to electrification is”

    We ain’t dealing with sensible, normal level headed folk here, people like corbyn and theresa stupid may, are run and controlled by the puppeteers and if they decree it (TPTB) – ie “an end to gas, decarbonise blah bloody blah” – they’ll will move heaven, to ban it, stop, finish it.

    Make gas so expensive that……….people will be forced to, stop selling gas appliances and the end – stop the gas! and you know they HMG – can. Always, the greens, the cultural Marxist loonies drive towards the Nth degree, is what they’ll seek and push for. As we observe, ‘phasing out fossil fuels – even Methane/natural gas, in a similar MO, procedure with phasing out diesel and petrol auto vehicular transport, the ‘transport’ involves the law, of MOT’s emissions testing incrementally tightening, harsher and harsher. Added to, next, easy terms (banks in on the con) for hybrids and lecky cars – it’s a motor industry, investment banking, fucking stitch-up and the market producers/politicians dictating to you and me…… and in favour of noddy/ electric cars, maybe or just ‘zil – merx lanes’ for the great and the good and shank’s or public transport for the proles – even better.

    The UK is a Democracy? don’t make me laugh and that’s how the EU works.

  15. Dermot Flaherty permalink
    April 9, 2018 8:50 am

    As some of you may know, a lot of the nirvana-like talk spouted by Gove and others last year about all Electric Vehicles in 2040/2050 was based on the highly optimistic “Two Degrees” scenario in the National Grid’s FES 2017 publication.
    This is where assumptions about reduced need for gas come from and I also noted that the GDP projection associated with Two Degrees was 2.1% whereas the latest OBR projection has this at 1.4%.
    (I managed to get 2 letters published in the Telegraph last year pointing out the almost Science Fiction nature of the foundation of the DOE’s pronouncement’s about future energy needs).

    I look forward to FES 2018 (which will be using the same 4 scenarios) to see how much reality has been acknowledged.

    • Jack Broughton permalink
      April 9, 2018 1:02 pm

      If you take 1850 as the perfect climate year and accept that the world is warming steadily at 0.8 C/Century, we are now approaching 1.4 deg K rise in temperature. The earth’s support for humanity is improving steadily and there is no apparent reason for a fear campaign over 1.5 deg K or even 2 deg K. These magic numbers never seem to be questioned!

  16. Gerry, England permalink
    April 9, 2018 12:51 pm

    No industrial consumption of gas

    That’s the easy one to solve – it will all move elsewhere to avoid the huge increase in electricity costs. That is assuming it hasn’t already gone elsewhere because of Brexit border controls and loss of EU markets.

  17. April 9, 2018 3:02 pm

    The goals are mpossible and not needed so should be abandoned. Perhaps the green priests could go around flogging themselves if they need to appease their pagan gods.

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