Think Tank Finds Turning Away From Gas Will Boost Economy

UK gas power

According to the Cambridge Econometrics think tank, the UK would be £20bn better off in 2030 by focusing on offshore wind farms as a means of replacing aging power plants, as opposed to increasing gas fired energy generation.

Talking about the group’s findings Paul Elkins, professor of resources and environmental policy at UCL, said:



Much of the debate around the choice between gas-fired and offshore wind electricity generation in the years post-2020 assumes wind is more expensive. This study represents powerful evidence to the contrary.

Indeed, the report concludes that, as well as reducing the country’s overall carbon footprint by 13%, with wind power making up a larger part of the nation’s energy mix, GDP would also be 0.8% higher than if gas were favoured.

The report, commissioned by Greenpeace, looks at two possible scenarios; one in which wind power is developed to account for almost 40% of the grid’s electricity supply by the end of the next decade, and another in which it provides just 10% of our power, with gas picking up the slack.

The findings are in contrast to signals being sent from Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, indicating that he sees gas playing a significantly increased role in meeting the population’s energy needs. He recently secured the right to revise the Climate Change Committee’s latest carbon budget in 2014 and he used his Autumn statement to say:

The Government expects up to 26 gigawatts (GW) of new gas capacity could be required by 2030 on current carbon budgets. If the fourth carbon budget is revised upwards and emissions reductions are more gradual, then up to 37 GW of new plant could be required.

This message was reinforced by a spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change who said:

We need a balanced low-carbon energy mix. That means new gas, plus renewables, new nuclear and carbon capture and storage technology, to meet our climate targets and ensure security of supply. The Gas Generation Strategy will set out the important role that gas generation will play in any future generation mix, in supporting a secure, low-carbon and affordable electricity system.

Green Steve’s Reaction

I really hope that the Government take note of this study and its conclusions. It would be really good if similar independent research could be conducted to back this study up as a consensus view is much more likely to sway policy.

I think the biggest problem is the public’s general view of wind power and it is this that politicians will be most swayed by.

Steve (156 Posts)

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