Electrifying much heat and transport, while clearly vital for net zero goals, will require an increase in electricity generation capacity (and probably network capacity too). The key challenge now, is how to integrate renewables, transport and heat in order to reduce spikes in demand and flatten those peaks and make the transformation as (cost) efficient as possible. I argue that we need to move beyond the idea of peak heat and we need to consider overall electricity system flexibility in the context of decarbonised heat and transport. The key heat question that remains is, how do (or can) the gas networks support this transition? The idea of wholesale conversion of gas networks to 100% hydrogen is unwise, as I have discussed elsewhere. But could the gas networks simply exist to provide a ‘peaking’ service used in conjunction with hybridised heat systems? Perhaps, but then again this could prove to be an expensive and unnecessary insurance option.
Exeter Energy Policy Group 30th April 2019 read more »