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Peak Demands For Natural Gas

December 11, 2022

By Paul Homewood

h/t Joe Public


Natural gas accounts for 43% of the UK’s primary energy consumption. In comparison, renewable energy only supplies 4%.

Our reliance on  gas though is much greater in winter months:




And if you look at hour-by-hour data, the peaks are greater still, as the National Grid chart below shows:






This graph is for yesterday, Dec 10th. Demand for gas ramps up from around 310 mcm at night to 430 mcm in the early evening. One mcm = approximately 11 GWh.

So a rate of 430 mcm/day equates to 4730 GWh, or 197 GWh per hour.

While supply remains relatively constant, these peaks in demand are met by reducing what is known as the linepack – effectively the amount of gas within the gas distribution network. This, of course, is something that the electricity grid cannot do.

In comparison with the daily peaks and troughs of gas, electricity storage is miniscule. Pumped storage capacity is 2.8 GW, with the biggest, Dinorwig, rated at 1.7 GW with storage of 9.1 GWh. Battery storage is much tinier still.

Based on the decline in linepack, we would need about 70 mcm each day to top up at peak demand – that is 770 GWh.

In any event, all of the electricity storage we have will all be needed just to balance peaks in electricity demand.

Yet our policymakers continue down the road of electrification, seemingly oblivious to the realities.

  1. December 11, 2022 2:20 pm

    The policy makers we breed see virtue signalling as much more important than reality, especially when it comes to matters scientific or technological

    • December 11, 2022 2:55 pm

      And they feel safe in the knowledge that our dysfunctional democratic system will not hold them to account.

      • December 11, 2022 3:40 pm

        Sad to say

      • December 11, 2022 5:14 pm

        If they feel safe it’s probably because their term of office will be over – they hope – before the Nat Grid system really goes pear-shaped. Obviously any electric car boom would/will just add to the deteriorating situation they’ve imposed on the country, unless they can kill off yet more industrial use to compensate.

    • Devoncamel permalink
      December 11, 2022 6:38 pm

      Indeed, they’ve set their stall out despite overwhelming facts to the contrary. They cannot and will not admit they’re wrong.
      We really do need a major blackout somewhere.

  2. Up2snuff permalink
    December 11, 2022 2:27 pm


    On the World This Weekend (BBC R4) they were doing a promo piece, effectively, for space exploration despite the massive electricity requirements of mission control to say nothing of the heat generated by take-off and the CO2 emissions of making all the kit.

    I’m all for pushing the boundaries of science but to do it while pushing for NutZero at the same time is just plain barking mad.

  3. Douglas Brodie permalink
    December 11, 2022 2:37 pm

    The Covid tyranny has finally explained the climate change agenda which has been unfathomable to anyone of a rational, sceptical leaning for at least two decades, so weak has been its scientific and engineering underpinning. It only now makes sense when seen as a slow-burn backup to the deliberate Covid agenda of economic ruination and genocide.

    The proponents of Net Zero are either mad or bad. I believe that the “useful idiot” proponents are mad, for example my MP, brainwashed by his own propaganda, but the money men drivers are very bad, in fact evil, like Gates, Soros, the Rockefellers and Big Money including the World Bank, the IMF and lots more.

    The proponents of Net Zero need to be challenged to admit that Net Zero equates to economic ruination and premeditated mass murder.

    • Vernon E permalink
      December 11, 2022 4:19 pm

      DB: You can add the UN to that list.

    • Cheshire Red permalink
      December 11, 2022 5:12 pm

      Douglas Brodie

      That’s exactly what this is. Specifically NZ is the political vehicle for global policy delivery of severe depopulation, all under the guise of ‘Saving the Planet’.

      Without a fearful population such policies wouldn’t see the light of day, so they’ve terrified ALL the next generation by brainwashing millions of schoolchildren. The older ones like us (!) can just die out. Literally that’s their tactic. Ignore and wait.

      As no dissent is tolerated (settled science!) there’ll be little chance of fixing those views for an entire generation.

      We now see obviously damaging but internationally coordinated policies being rolled out by the same Western world nations.

      Anti-farming: Canada, UK, Netherlands. Reduces food availability.
      Energy use reduction: everywhere.
      Destroying FF power plants: everywhere. They’re doing this as the energy produced by FF is reliable, cheap and abundant. The very last thing they want to do is create good economic conditions for wealth creation and growing economies. Hence they’re restricting supplies of wealth-creating goods and rights.

      All the above says nothing of excess government controls which have already been trialed via Covid lockdowns.

      In short, we’re being governed by a power-mad, globalised criminal class.

      • Douglas Brodie permalink
        December 11, 2022 10:58 pm

        Glad to see your endorsement. It’s time to stop pussy-footing around technical arguments about Net Zero and expose it for what it really is, a pretext for mass starvation, mass immiseration and global depopulation.

  4. Peter Lawrenson permalink
    December 11, 2022 3:12 pm

    Are we mixing energy with electricity? Electricity is about 20% of UK energy consumption. Thanks for all the good work on this site.

    • Nigel Sherratt permalink
      December 11, 2022 4:19 pm

      The first image (Chart 4.3) divides gas by: Domestic/ Others/ Industry/ Electricity generation

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        December 11, 2022 9:21 pm

        Hi Nigel, I was completely unaware of the Cleve Hill renaming. I guess it must be worrying for you living just a couple of crow flying miles away. A large part of my wife’s family live in Faversham and I was married there. Is Helen Whatley MP doing anything? I did raise the issue with my waste of space MP (Rosie Duffield) but she did the usual “not in my constituency” crap, though to be honest she really is too thick to understand just about anything.

    • Vernon Evenson permalink
      December 11, 2022 4:34 pm

      PL: That error is compounded every day by statements from politicians on the MSM. Twice in the last week or so I have heard Ministers say, unchallenged, that wind was producing 40% of our energy. As you correctly say electricity is only 20% of our energy usage so the wind, at its best, produced 5% of our energy need.

  5. Joe Public permalink
    December 11, 2022 4:20 pm

    TYPO ALERT Paul:

    “In comparison with the daily peaks and troughs of gas, electricity storage is miniscule. Pumped storage capacity is 2.8 GW …”

    The 2.8GW is our pumped storage discharge power capacity.

    Our pumped hydro energy storage capacity is 26.7 GWh. 😉

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      December 11, 2022 4:56 pm

      Or less than 10 hours full tilt for ~6% of demand. Even getting 24 hours at 25% means a lot of flooding somewhere
      But try persuading a true beleiver that’s aproblem, I have and it’s impossible.

  6. John Hultquist permalink
    December 11, 2022 4:36 pm

    Another way of thinking about “linepack” is that the compressibility of the gas allows the storing of gas in pipelines providing additional amounts of gas to meet limited peak demand.
    Compressing and decompressing is a dynamical activity requiring accurate compressible fluid models – more math than I care to think about.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      December 11, 2022 9:25 pm

      Its also a significant problem (among several dozens!) in converting the gas grid to transport hydrogen. The Joule-Thomson effect of hydrogen heating up at throttling points on expansion is potentially very dangerous.

  7. GeoffB permalink
    December 11, 2022 4:42 pm

    I have told you time and time again………”Do not confuse me with the facts my mind is already made up”
    Just how in the dystopian future envisaged by Lord Deben’s Climate Change Committee, do we get all the electrical energy that homes will need for our heat pump, running appliances, and charging cars down two skinny wires that at the moment supply the average home (OGEMS definition for the cap) of 10kWh/day. The local substation is only rated for this per house connected. The future need will be 150kWh/day in winter, fifteen times more!!! OFGEM just issued a report last week for the Distribution Network Operators to beef up the local networks, without increasing costs! Rewiring every home’s connection in the country, beefing up every local substation is just impossible in the times scales for net zero. Then why not go 3 phase for homes, particularly for the heat pump and charging the car. It is going to cost a fortune and there is just not enough competent engineers.

  8. Derrick Byford permalink
    December 11, 2022 5:01 pm

    Shouldn’t someone tell them?

    • Nigel Sherratt permalink
      December 11, 2022 5:31 pm

      “We know they are lying, they know they are lying, they know we know they are lying, we know they know we know they are lying, but they are still lying.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

  9. dearieme permalink
    December 11, 2022 5:06 pm

    If parts of the country eventually need to have their gas and electricity cut off I’d like to think that the operation would start with those areas where the Greens live, specifically the Greens who have had political power and influence. Someone must know which parts of London are inhabited by the Milibands and Johnsons, Ed Davey, and David Cameron.

    It wouldn’t be as much fun as seeing them strung up but it would be a start.

  10. MrGrimNasty permalink
    December 11, 2022 7:26 pm

    Climate File was plugging yet another supposedly cheap renewable electricity scheme without yet again explaining the upfront costs.
    Bethesda local hydro scheme, £90K Welsh government bung in 2016 for 100 homes to start with. Of course you can have cheap electricity if someone else pays to build it!

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      December 11, 2022 7:58 pm

      Later they mentioned £1.4million total initial cost, for now about 140 houses. Again not clear on costs or how the money was raised.
      Of course the weather forecast gave the obligatory it’s cold, but still rampant climate change lecture.

      • mikewaite permalink
        December 11, 2022 10:38 pm

        A few days ago they reran the old Cliff Michelmore film about the 1963 Big Freeze . If you are thinking that a repeat of that very cold winter and power cuts might change people’s minds about Net Zero and the Climate change Act well the BBC (I think it was the BBC) are way ahead of you. They had Chris Packham at the end saying that the Freeze was an extreme event, and extreme events are increasing in frequency because of climate change due to global warming. The clear message being that we must change our way of life, industry and economy or 1963 will happen again and again. And the public and every MP will believe that without question .

  11. Dung permalink
    December 11, 2022 7:37 pm

    All knowledge of science and engineering is found outside parliament with virtually none inside so it is no wonder policy is shit.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      December 12, 2022 9:09 am

      This is not true. Ministers do not just decide to do this, that and the other. Policy papers are produced by civil servants with expert advice. The problem lies with the advice, which is both biased to begin with and then biased to fit the Minister’s policy (or not sometimes if the civil service object enough). Watch Yes Minister – it is extremely accurate. 2-3 years ago I worked for the DTI on trade initiatives but my conclusions contradicted the entirely superficial/stupid wishes of the Minister and the civil service so were “vanished”. Those conusions that fitted were then the view of the experts. We saw the same with Covid – expert views that fitted with Hancocks views were acceptable, those of other virologists and epidemiologists became “fringe”. Governments take advice but it is filtered and controlled.

      • December 12, 2022 10:31 am

        In other words, Governements are so stupid as to ignore any objective advice they are given unless it fits their preconceived (stupid) views and that’s the reason why ” policy is shit”

      • Dung permalink
        December 12, 2022 11:28 am

        MPs and ministers CHOOSE which advice they listen to and they choose wrongly because they know diddly squat about the issues. I stand by my claim.

  12. It doesn't add up... permalink
    December 11, 2022 10:18 pm

    The realities for tomorrow:

    Peak power has traded at £2,850/MWh on a day ahead basis. The Grid announced a 94% chance of loss of load (power cuts), based on a current forecast shortage of over 1.5GW. Persuading other countries to supply on the interconnectors is obviously running into difficulties.

    Gas supply is reasonably secure for now. We have cut our exports to the Continent, but are not getting anything back. There are two ships discharging LNG at Milford Haven, and one at Grain.

  13. kzbkzb permalink
    December 12, 2022 1:32 am

    The heat pump would be supplying heat at 300% efficiency compared to about 90% for gas heating. Maybe even 600% for the latest models.
    So if we divide that 197GW by 3 for roughly 300% efficiency we have about 65GW of electric heating by heatpump.
    So we are told anyhow.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      December 12, 2022 3:11 am

      Not in these weather conditions. The Coefficient of Production (conveniently COP for short) drops to around 200% as you approach freezing, and by the time you get to -10C you might as well just switch on a normal resistive electric fire.

      What that means is that when it gets really cold demand will spike to the full monty. Probably the capacity won’t be available to meet it, so people will get cold and die because they lack the ability to fight off illness when cold. Actual hypothermia cases are not what this is about.

    • Gray permalink
      December 12, 2022 8:54 am

      I was installing large Carrier 50EQ rooftop heat pumps to commercial office buildings in the eighties, so I know a bit about them. They were only cost effective because they were primarily used for cooling in the summer and only need a singe component, (reversing valve) to changeover to heating in winter.
      Attach a co-efficient of performance graph related to temperature please, any manufacturer.
      Also who is suggesting 600%? at zero ambient? Impossible
      When I last spoke to a supplier of domestic units they quoted 300% efficiency but when I asked for more details they told me that was an average figure based on a year’s performance.
      Averaging a COP using summer conditions when you would be using it for heating seems a bit suspect doesn’t it?
      Perhaps somebody in the real world with a ‘smart’meter and a heat pump ( and no other source of heat) can tell us how much it cost them to keep warm last week?

      • kzbkzb permalink
        December 12, 2022 11:21 am

        I read somewhere that someone is claiming 600% for a heat pump. It’s quite theoretically possible, it does not break any of the laws of physics.
        Also there are so-called cold climate heat pumps which function well at low outside temperatures, reportedly down to -25 degrees C.
        They are used extensively in Sweden and Norway and they seem very happy with them ?

      • Gray permalink
        December 12, 2022 11:31 am

        Theoretically possible? Name the manufacturer please
        Also please attach a COP graph against temperature going down to -25C.
        All hearsay until you produce some details.

    • December 12, 2022 9:15 am

      Coefficient of Performance for heat pumps is not efficiency but a comparison compared to electric resistive heating which the heat pump industry claim is 100%.
      No device can beat 100% efficiency, that’s just impossible.

      To compare the efficiency of gas central heating boiler to a heat pump needs to measure the amount of gas to give x quanity of heat. In other words include the efficiency of the electrical generator and all the supply losses that powers a heat pump against near instantaneous use in a gas boiler in the home.
      Electricity is not energy but a carrier and has considerable loss between generation and use.

      • kzbkzb permalink
        December 12, 2022 11:17 am

        But that would be missing the point. Electricity will eventually be zero emissions and made from free fuel (wind and sun). So the efficiency at the generation plant is not part of the calculation in this context.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        December 12, 2022 11:29 am

        In this kind of weather electricity would not be from wind and solar. It would be from whatever backup is available, if there is enough. Want to do it in hydrogen? Then you’ll go through a 60% efficient PEM electrolyser and a 60% efficient CCGT plant for an efficiency of 36% first. Those are optimistic figures.

      • December 12, 2022 12:10 pm

        there will not be zero emission electrcity from renewables it simply will not happen. Nuclear yes, wind and solar never.
        The efficiency of wind generators has to be taken into account as there is a need to run gas generators so that wind can actually work, and then there are transmission and distribution losses as well.

  14. Martin Brumby permalink
    December 12, 2022 5:07 am

    At least they are consistent.

    Consistently stupid, incompetent, venal, virtue signalling twerps.

  15. cookers52 permalink
    December 12, 2022 6:55 am


  16. Phoenix44 permalink
    December 12, 2022 8:51 am

    I have no doubt policy-makers are aware of these issues. But they simply believe that there will be solutions because they want to believe that. Look at Net Zero and you will see it is almost entirely dependent on behaviour change and new technologies that will magically solve all problems. That they then are idiot enough to believe they can choose those technologies now is a secondary problem.

    • Dung permalink
      December 12, 2022 11:22 am

      You can look at Net Zero if you want to but I do not spend time on a policy that would lead to the end of all life on the planet.

  17. December 12, 2022 9:55 am

    Reblogged this on Calculus of Decay .

  18. MrGrimNasty permalink
    December 12, 2022 10:03 am

    They’re warming up additional coal plants for this evening’s peak.

    “The stations are operated by Drax in North Yorkshire and are two of five put on standby under so-called winter contingency contracts, with others run by EDF and Uniper.
    The two units are each said to be capable of generating around 570 megawatts – adding more than 1.1 gigawatts to the grid if used.”

    We’ve already had record day ahead prices for electricity and records are expected as a fight breaks out over the direction of flow from the interconnectors tonight.

  19. Vernon E permalink
    December 12, 2022 10:59 am

    There is no hope of challenging the energy crisis unless the politicians and MSM’s addiction to fantasies are crushed. These currently include ever increasing building of windmills, major nuclear installations, hydrogen as fuel, hydrogen for steel-making (there is a small pilot plant in Sweden), steel making by electricity (it can’t “make”steel only re-process scrap) and, of course, shale gas (for reasons of permeability which I have addressed in numerous posts).

    Actions that will really help will include restoring as much of our existing coal-fired capaciyty as possible, adding more CCGT capacity with optional liquid fuel firing where possible, and with a guaranteed minimum base load for profitabilty, and establishing SMRs in proximity to major users. I was particularly drawn by the proposal recently from Rolls Royce and INEOS to do this at Grangemouth.

  20. December 12, 2022 11:06 am

    We have politicians of all flavours who cant tell a Mega Watt Hour from a Power Grid. We need a major black out when we fail to show the high risk of betting on Wind Turbines with not real contingency. If we have no real wind this week we are at risk of having no electricity. We need a shake up and a total failure may prompt some action.

    • mwalim5ac41236e2 permalink
      December 12, 2022 11:45 am

      Will someone please enlighten me. Isn’t Efficiency defined as Total Output/Total Input. The heat pump may extract more heat energy out of the ground but surely the TOTAL Input must include all the Energy needed to extract it and keep extracting it 24hrs/ day, i.e. the energy needed to generate the electrical energy needed. ‘Ye cannae change the Laws of Physics Jim’.

      • donteachin permalink
        December 12, 2022 12:02 pm

        So Heat Pumps are able to generate 3x the energy they need to extract heat from the air/ground? Therefore they should work without any input from wind, solar, gas, etc. Utter tosh!

      • kzbkzb permalink
        December 12, 2022 3:04 pm

        You are correct that the word “efficiency” is used rather loosely with heat pumps.
        Of course they are not really 300% efficient. But it can be seen like that when comparing with other heating technologies.
        Comparing the energy use of a heat pump with a heat output 3X its input to a gas boiler with a heat output 90% of its input, for example.

  21. December 12, 2022 3:50 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

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