A perspective on the future of global energy supply cannot be seen through a low carbon lens alone, though it will form a crucial part of the view. In the UK alone and for the next 25 years, diversity of source is key to achieving low carbon emission targets, ensuring security of supply and cost affordability. It is not just the climate change agenda that is driving this transition. The UK stock of power generation plants is ageing. This combination of policy and capacity means transition of the UK energy resource is no longer a want, it is a need.
- All of the existing ageing AGR and Magnox nuclear capacity, except Sizewell B PWR reactor, will close by 2023; this will result in a loss of circa 9GW of power generation.
- The EU’ Large Plant Combustion Directive will force closure of old technology coal plants by 2015; this will result in a loss of another 12GW.
- Early combined cycle gas turbines (CCGTs) will reach the end of their life in 2020s.
- According to E.ON’ research currently predicted UK energy demand of circa 65GW will start outstripping the supply in 2015.
- Although newer forms of renewables and low carbon technologies are being deployed to satisfy the UK energy gap, these technologies will not be sufficient to satisfy the base load power demand and come on line in time to “plug” the energy gap beyond 2015. In terms of satisfying the UK energy gap to 2025, all of the mature technologies and traditional fuel sources:
> Combined or Integrated cycle gas turbines (CCGTs/ICCGs)
> Coal (with carbon capture and storage (CCS)
will continue to be used, although not to the same extent as presently.