Introduction

This analysis is re-written in fundamental ways as compared with the 2017 analysis, because the Future Energy Scenarios have changed markedly, and largely for the better. Two of the scenarios are legally compliant to the Climate Change Act 2008, offering two extremes of compliant system: centralised and de-centralised.

Forecasts for most of the technologies are much more realistic, for example:

  • Demand growth has been increased substantially in an attempt to accommodate the electrification of heating, transportation and industry;
  • Nuclear power is delayed and reduced in expected volume;
  • CCS has been put out until 2030 at the earliest.

Therefore this analysis has been re-done almost from scratch, to analyse its qualities and shortcomings. The analysis focuses largely on the two legally compliant scenarios, though considering the other two scenarios on occasion.

Conclusion

Despite these excellent improvements, there are a number of points of concern, for example:

  1. Demand may be under-estimated by up to a factor of three:
    • Only half of the electricity required for manufacture of hydrogen appears to be taken account of,
    • Transportation demand appears to be greatly under-estimated,
    • The energy required for heating also appears to be greatly under-stated;
  1. Interconnectors are still relied upon far too much;
  2. Capacity margins turn negative quickly in all scenarios, and more so when de-rating factors are applied to generation;
  3. Insufficient storage is planned, and no consideration is given to the duration of such storage, i.e. for how many hours at a time it can put electricity back into the grid;
  4. The only large scale long duration storage conceived of is pumped hydro, the most expensive and geographically constrained such technology;
  5. The market is riddled with overt and covert subsidies that distort it, currently costing over £2bn p.a. and forecast to double in 5 years;
  6. The structure of the market needs transformation to reduce medium and long term costs, eliminate subsidies, level the playing field, incentivise cleanness and new technologies, and provide energy security in both its definitions;
  7. Actions being taken now are greatly increasing the costs of the energy transition;
  8. The industry needs to plan a viable zero-carbon future (or range of futures) and then analyse the actions and market structures required to achieve it, rather than to ride the bronco of change applying sticking plasters as we go.

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