Future UK Gas Security: The Future Role of Gas

26 Feb 2018

These briefing papers report on the findings from the second and third UK Gas Security Forum meetings. 

The Future Role of Gas

The majority of studies of energy security focus on upstream security of supply. More recently, as the low-carbon transition has gathered momentum, there has been increasing interest in security of future demand as a challenge to the integrity of the gas supply chain. 

This briefing is divided into five sections. The first section examines the current role of natural gas in the UK energy mix, as well as recent trends in power generation. The second section reports on recent research by UKERC on the future role of gas in the UK. The third section examines what National Grid’s (2017a) most recent Future Energy Scenarios have to say about the future role of gas. The fourth section reviews other industry analyses about the future role of gas. The fifth, and final section, examines the ways in which Brexit complicates the situation. The briefing concludes by highlighting the policy challenges in relation to future security of demand.

Midstream Infrastructure

The Midstream Infrastructure briefing considers the critical infrastructures - both hard and soft - that are necessary to link gas suppliers to end users. In many ways this is the most complex, least studied and most important part of the UK's gas supply chain. This briefing describes the various elements of the Midstream, assesses their current status, considers the potential impact on Brexit, and the challenges they pose in relation to future UK gas security.

The key challenge that the Midstream has to manage is the strong seasonality of UK gas demand, which is driven largely by winter demand for domestic heating. However, in recent years the growth of low-carbon generation (wind and solar) has introduced the additional complexity of intermittency, which is resulting in swings in gas demand on a much shorter time-frame. This is a challenge that is only going to increase in the future as coal-fired generation closes (by 2025) and intermittent low-carbon generation continues to grow.

 Future UK Gas Security: Midstream Briefing