The future role of natural gas in the UK: Report by UK Energy Research Centre Feb 2016

This report by noted academic experts based at UCL and the Universities of Sussex and Warwick demonstrates how natural gas, including shale gas, can play only a very limited role in meeting the UK's energy needs if the UK is to meet the decarbonisation targets it has already committed to.

The research looked at:

  • How much gas use was compatible with meeting emissions reduction targets?
  • How this gas use would be affected by the availability (or lack) of carbon capture and storage technologies?
  • How long the timeframe for the use of gas might be?
  • What potential remained for substituting gas for coal in the UK?

The report concluded:

  • Gas can play only a modest role as a bridging fuel in the UK between now and 2020
  • Without CCS, there is little scope for gas use in power generation beyond 2030
  • The economic logic in investing in new combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power stations is undermined
  • A second ‘dash for gas’ could compromise the UK’s decarbonisation ambitions
  • The UK lacks a clear vision for the future role of gas

Friends of the Earth Energy campaigner, Tony Bosworth, said:

“This report shows that gas is not a long-term solution to our energy problems. It was written before the Paris agreement – which increased our climate ambitions, and so further reduces any long-term role for gas in the UK.”

“Building more gas-fired power stations, as the Government wants, risks locking us into a high carbon future, making it harder to tackle climate change.”

“The real answer to our energy problems is investing more in renewable power and improving energy efficiency.”