National Grid Considers Future Gas-fired Generation Demand

           Energy Markets

As part of a series of reports to help plan the future of gas operability, National Grid has released a quarterly report that specifically considers future demand from gas-fired generation in the UK.  Changes in the generation mix, developments in technology, and changing consumer behaviour provide challenges and uncertainties out to 2050. Statistics from BEIS show that 42% of electricity was generated from gas-fired generation in 2016, compared to 27% in 2015. However, it is not just the level of demand that is under scrutiny; the patterns of supply and demand could present significant operability challenges. National Grid points to the variability seen in 2017, when daily gas-fired generation demand fluctuated over a range of 72 mcm/day, across the year.

In planning for the future, National Grid considers four different energy scenarios that range from a situation where the 2050 carbon reduction targets have been met and reliance on gas is reduced to a scenario where there is high investment to allow electricity generation to be more diversified and dynamic. Under the latter scenario, the system becomes more difficult to manage and balance. However, it should be noted that under all scenarios, gas is viewed as the flexible generation source. Depending on the energy pathway taken, there could be a significant increase in decentralised gas-fired generation demand. That is, gas-fired generation that is connected to the electricity network but not the gas transmission system. Future studies will inform on the impacts this would have.

National Grid has asked for interested parties to respond to their quarterly report on future gas-fired generation demand: “We want you to challenge our findings, telling us how you think gas-fired generation will change in the future. We would particularly welcome your views on the potential impact decentralised gas-fired generation could have on how you use the NTS”. The feedback received by National Grid will feed into their analysis. The next quarter’s report will focus on Great Britain’s changing supply mix and within-day supply patterns.

Nikki Wilson

Nikki joined Alfa Energy in September 2015 as a Carbon Management Consultant where she advises clients on legislation, compliance, and the implementation of carbon management schemes. She is a Practitioner member of IEMA, has a postgraduate diploma in Environmental Decision Making, and has over 15 years’ experience in energy consultancy.