Policy Submissions

S930 - The Role of Gas in Electricity Generation


 “The role of gas in the electricity generation” IET-led submission by Engineering the Future to the Department of Energy and Climate Change

Abstract Gas-fired power generation has a number of advantages: it is quick and cheap to build and if designed appropriately can provide a high level of operational flexibility without undue penalties in terms of wear and tear.  However, it creates a carbon lock-in over its 25 year life which could reduce the incentive to move faster to a fully decarbonised electricity system.  When considering the different strengths and weaknesses of gas-fired power generation it is important to bear in mind the performance of the energy system as a whole. The power generation system is becoming less flexible as coal and oil-fired generation exit the market due to EU legislation. The inflexible nature of nuclear power and variability of wind generation, coupled with the lack of progress in developing and deploying storage, leaves only gas-fired plants currently flexible enough to meet most of the system’s growing need for responsive plant, though greater international interconnection, demand management and additional pumped storage may assist in the longer term. It is likely to be a decade before there is any significant supply of UK shale gas but as long as there is potentially increasing exploitation of unconventional gas sources in the UK and Europe, there is a strong case for accelerating the development of Carbon Capture and Storage for use with gas-fired plants.

Submission Details Submitted on 28 June 2012 to Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)

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Keywords and Search Terms Gas-fired power stations, Carbon Capture and Storage, Low carbon, Demand management, Shale gas, Unconventional gas, Gas storage, Energy Market Reform, Capacity Mechanism, Systems Operator