The UK will miss its target for 15% of energy use to come from renewable energy sources by 2020 in all the “Future Energy Scenarios” published by National Grid today. The target is not achieved until 2022 in the “Gone Green” scenario and by 2029 in “No progression”.
In all four scenarios National Grid says that a large switch to renewable heat and transport is required.
Across the scenarios – “Gone Green”, “Slow Progression”, “No Progression”, and “Consumer Power” – the country requires considerably more electricity capacity than today. Installed capacity must rise from 97GW in 2015 to between 114GW (No Progression) and 165GW (Gone Green), partly to power electric vehicles and heating.
That will come partly from distributed generation but the UK will also require new gas-fired plant to meet peak demand.The System Operator said there would be new “operability” challenges in the gas network. Gas would also remain in use for domestic heating and to feed new domestic appliances like fuel cells and microCHP.
The System Operator also forsees a very large increase in electricity interconnection, which it said could reach 23GW in Consumer Power or Gone Green scenarios.
To meet low-carbon targets in 2050 National Grid said action must be taken “this decade”. It said the most cost-effective pathway would deploy 100GW of renewables, 22GW of nuclear and 20GW of gas plant with CCS by 2050.
Meanwhile, in a statement on the result of the EU ‘Brexit’ referendum, National Grid warned:
“An exit from the European Union could cause significant uncertainty for the energy sector in the medium and long term, in particular with respect to the UK’s membership of the internal energy market (IEM).
“The IEM provides significant benefits to both UK and EU energy consumers, by way of harmonised rules facilitating energy transportation and increased interconnection, which allows efficient buying and selling of energy. This helps keep household bills down, and also brings significant benefits in terms of security of supply and integration of low-carbon energy. The IEM also provides a stable framework for UK and European energy companies in which investments can be made.”
“National Grid believes it is vital that the UK retains access to the IEM. Energy must now become a key priority area as the government begins negotiations on how the UK’s exit from the EU will be handled.”