A recent UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) report considers the role of gas under current UK decarbonisation objectives, including an 80% reduction in GHGs in 2050, relative to 1990 levels. It uses modelling by UCL, notably the UKTM model used in the UK DDPP analysis.

Firstly, it concludes that gas has limited scope as a transition fuel or a ‘bridge’, having already displaced much of the coal use in the energy system pre-2000, notably in the power generation sector during the 1990s. Therefore, it highlights that any policy incentivising the new build of gas power plants must reflect that such generation plant will only be able to be used at low capacity factors, or be retrofit-ready for carbon capture and storage (CCS). An understanding of this policy outlook is crucial for prospective investors.

Secondly, the report finds that without CCS, the scope for gas use in 2050 is little more than 10% of the 2010 level. Therefore, continued gas use will rely strongly on the commercialisation of CCS. The analysis finds that if CCS is available, gas will effectively be used in very different ways to that seen in the current system. For example, it will shift away from the provision of heating in buildings and towards sectors with CCS applications – hydrogen production, industry and power generation (as also seen in the UK DDPP analysis).

>> See the UKERC report