IET Policy Evidence on Gas Strategy

The IET gave oral evidence to the UK Parliament on 13 February 2013 in response to the Gas Generation Strategy. 

Professor Roger Kemp FREng FIET was the IET’s witness and called for the gas strategy to be linked with the heat strategy in a whole energy system approach, if we are to deliver a secure, decarbonised and affordable outcome.

IET oral evidence on gas generation strategy

The IET gave oral evidence to the UK Parliament on Gas Generation Strategy on 13 February 2013.  Unusually, the Select Committee process was turned on its head due to the rapid pace of events in energy policy and oral evidence was requested in advance of written evidence.  Expressions of interest in providing oral evidence had to be submitted within 12 days of the inquiry’s announcement which is challenging for a professional body.

Fortunately this coincided with a scheduled meeting of the Energy Policy Panel and we were able to debate the issue in some detail.  The selected witness, Professor Roger Kemp FREng FIET, is well qualified being a member of the IET’s Energy Policy Panel, a member of the Energy Sector Working Group on Heat and author of the Royal Academy of Engineering report “Heat: Degrees of Comfort”.

We used the “Expression of Interest” submission to stress the IET’s key point which is that the energy system needs to be considered as a whole when developing policy if we are to deliver a secure, decarbonised and affordable outcome.

Gas fired electricity generation produces large amounts of low grade heat suitable for space heating as a by-product, and can also be configured to provide high grade heat for industry if required.  These factors need to be a part of the total evaluation of the role of gas in power generation.   Therefore it is imperative that there is a link between the gas strategy for power generation and the forthcoming heat strategy (published by DECC as a consultation draft in March 2012 and expected in its final form in the spring).

The IET expressed caution about a new “dash for gas”.  Whilst in the longer term it may be possible to retrofit gas plant with carbon capture equipment to minimise its carbon emissions, it would still increase the UK’s dependency on gas as a fuel.   The global availability of gas has improved greatly in recent years, largely because of the US development of its shale gas resource, but the pipeline and/or liquefaction infrastructure does not exist to bring it easily to the UK and the strategic implications for the UK of heavy reliance on imported gas should still be given appropriate consideration.  

In oral evidence we were questioned on the relationship between the Government’s gas generation policy and carbon capture and storage (CCS), Combined Heat and Power (CHP), and “green gas”.  The session can be viewed on Parliament TV - Gas Generation Strategy new window .

The IET’s written evidence is currently under embargo until published by the Select Committee but it will be available in due course on the IET submissions page on Government policy .