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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Gas networks are 'exaggerating' peak heat challenge, says thinktank

Gas networks and other industry incumbents are exaggerating the difficulties of meeting peak heat demand through electrification, as they fight to maintain a role in the low-carbon future, the Exeter Energy Policy Group has argued.

Hydrogen and other green gas gases will be unable to fully decarbonise heating, according to University of Exeter Energy Policy Researcher Richard Lowes, leaving electrification, district heating and perhaps solar thermal as better long-term solutions to the problem. The ENA, meanwhile, maintains that a "whole system" approach is the most reliable, secure and affordable solution.

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"By promoting this peak heat issue and the need to rely on the gas networks and the gas infrastructure for this peak heat load, this is a way of maintaining their existing market position," Lowes told Utility Week.

He drew attention to a well-known peak heat demand graph published by Robert Sansom in 2014 as part of his doctoral thesis for Imperial College London, which showed non-industrial heat demand topping out at nearly 380GW during some half-hour periods in 2010.

Lowes claimed the graph has been misused by gas networks and other industry players to lobby against the electrification of heating; their argument being, that it would require a prohibitively large investment in new generation and grid reinforcements to meet the 380GW peak.

Read the full story at Utility Week