Minister launches report into long-term vital role for gas

16 November 2010

Gas has a vital role in the UK's future energy mix, says Energy Minister Charles Hendry

Speaking tonight (15 November) at the launch of a major new study into gas in the future, the minister said the UK must move towards a low-carbon energy system over the next few decades, in order to meet our ambitious and legally-binding 2050 greenhouse gas reduction target.

"Our decision last week to open the CCS Demonstration programme to gas-fired power plants will help to provide a long term future for gas. In the meantime gas is going to continue to play a vital role in keeping the lights on," he continued.

"As we become increasingly dependent on imported gas, we are making it a priority to take steps to maximise our gas security of supply - we will be legislating on gas security in the forthcoming Energy Security & Green Economy Bill to give Ofgem new powers to sharpen the commercial incentives for gas companies to reduce the likelihood, duration, or severity of a gas shortage. Such measures should help underpin commercial demand for the additional gas infrastructure we will need in the future," concluded Mr Hendry.

The independent analysis, called 'Gas Futures Scenarios' was commissioned by Energy Networks Association (ENA), the voice of the UK's gas and electricity infrastructure companies.

ENA chief executive David Smith says, "Meeting the UK's energy and climate change targets is a huge challenge and the government is reviewing the future of energy and new technologies. We have a major role in these discussions and commissioned this first ever in-depth, independent analysis into the future role of gas in a low carbon economy, by respected energy consultants Redpoint.

"The report shows that gas is key to the UK economy and plays a vital role in finding a low cost, sustainable, secure and flexible solution to our energy and climate change needs. Compared with scenarios that phase gas out of the energy mix, under certain circumstances, there could be savings of up to £700bn, meaning households could benefit from savings of £20,000 from their bills if a dual solution of gas and electricity is taken forward.

"ENA believes in an all-encompassing energy solution, not just an electricity or gas solution. Redpoint?s report clearly shows that by strengthening our gas supply and network, it can play a major role in the solution to our energy needs and achieving climate change targets.

"These scenarios show that gas is a bridge to the future as a major part of our energy mix in the UK and Ireland. We can achieve a lower-cost option for investment whilst addressing the need for an affordable, secure and sustainable future for our energy needs."

Commenting on the findings of their report, Redpoint said, "We have welcomed the opportunity to work with ENA on an issue of critical importance to the nation's energy future. Our modelling indicates that there are credible and robust scenarios in which gas, supported by an increasing role for biogas and carbon capture and storage, can continue to play a major role in the energy mix, without compromising the ability to meet either the 2020 targets for renewable energy or the 2050 targets for carbon reduction."

ENDS

Notes to editors

The report is being launched at an event on the evening of Monday 15 November 2010 and can be found here.

A press briefing of the report is available here.

A policy briefing for the report is available here.

Gas is delivered to nearly 60 million people in the UK and the latest figures show that gas provides over 50% of UK energy demand.

The companies connect up to 100,000 new gas consumers a year and in particular it is used to address domestic fuel poverty.

ENA represents the „wires and pipes? transmission and distribution network operators for gas and electricity in the UK and Ireland.

For further information please contact:
Tim Field, Press and Public Affairs Executive
Energy Networks Association
E: [email protected]
T: +44 (0)207 706 5157
M: +44 (0)7725 372 758
W: www.energynetworks.org