Heat decarbonisation challenges: local gas vs electricity supply

17 Aug 2018

This briefing note summarises Great Britain’s local gas demand from the 2nd of April 2017 to the 6th of March 2018 and compares this to electrical supply.

The data covers the UK cold weather event on the 1st March, providing insights into the scale of hourly energy flows through both networks. A peak hourly local gas demand of 214 GW occurred at 6pm on the 1st of March, which compared to peak electrical supply of 53 GW occurring at the same time.

The data highlights a critical challenge – managing the 3-hour difference in demand from 5am to 8am on the local gas network during the heating season. Whilst flexibility in the gas system is provided using a change in pressure to store extra energy in the network to meet increasing demand, the electrical system has no comparable intrinsic equivalent.

The findings add to previous work funded by UKERC on thermal energy storageheat incumbency, and flexibility of electrical systems to provide insights into the decarbonisation of heat in Britain, helping to inform decision-making, modelling of future networks and highlighting key areas for future research and innovation.