National Infrastructure Commission calls for 2040 exit for unabated gas plants, wants ‘energy from waste’ abated

Unabated gas fired power stations should be excluded from electricity markets after 2040, except for an emergency reserve, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) said in its five-yearly assessment of the UK’s infrastructure. Instead, government should support deployment by 2035 of 30GW of large power stations fuelled with hydrogen or gas with carbon capture storage, along with 8TWh of hydrogen storage.
The NIC says a business model to support gas generation with carbon capture and storage has already been developed and the same will need to happen for hydrogen fired generation, as pursuing the two together manages the risk of slippage to the deployment timescales.
The NIC called on government to strengthen its policies for unabated gas phaseout. It says unabated gas fired generation should not have Capacity Market contracts that extend beyond 2040 and should not be able to operate in the wholesale, capacity and balancing markets from that date. It said this “clear signal … would give greater clarity to the private sector on the trajectory for bringing gas off the system, allowing it to invest accordingly”. The NIC said the System Operator would be able to turn on backup unabated gas fired generation, “similar to the measures used to allow for coal generation over the winter starting in 2022”.
The NIC also said government should phase out the use of unabated ‘energy from waste’ plants, ban future energy from waste capacity that does not include carbon capture and storage, and set stronger incentives for recycling investment.

1 comment for “National Infrastructure Commission calls for 2040 exit for unabated gas plants, wants ‘energy from waste’ abated

  1. October 27, 2023 at 8:38 AM

    2040? That’s 40% longer than the previous deadline 2035.
    Statements by the NIC (and others) give the impression that, if a plan anticipates substantial quantities of permanent geological storage of captured CO2 from power stations, then such storage is (i) physically and commercially feasible and (ii) guaranteed to the satisfaction of sceptical governments and the public worldwide. Such plans undermine trust. Despite long gestation, CC and permanent S at full scale has failed worldwide (despite huge government subsidy and the planetary significance).
    Growth (and decline) in the UK market for electricity will be determined by steeply increasing carbon prices (reflect the remaining global carbon budget, equitably allocated), as will availability of materials and labour.

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