Gas must only have a limited role as a “bridging fuel” if Britain is to meet its climate change reduction targets, the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) has warned.

In a new report, the centre said gas needs to fall to just 10% of the country’s energy mix by 2050 if it is used to fuel power stations without carbon-capture and storage (CCS) technology.

The Climate Change Act requires the UK to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 80% compared with 1990 levels by 2050.

Professor Jim Watson, Director of the UKERC, said: “Without CCS, there is little scope for gas use in power generation beyond 2030 and it will need to be steadily phased out over the next 35 years, and almost entirely removed by 2050.”

Gas has ‘no role’ as bridging fuel

Mike Bradshaw, Professor of Global Energy at Warwick Business School and one of the report’s authors, added: “A ‘second dash for gas’ may provide some short-term gains in reducing emissions but may not be the most cost-effective way forward and may even compromise the UK’s decarbonisation ambitions.

“If all coal-fired power generation is to be removed by 2025, and we are no longer supporting the development of CCS, then policy makers must think carefully about how best to replace that capacity.

“Gas can play only a modest role between now and 2020, and in the medium- to long-term has no role as a bridging fuel because the UK has already exploited a large amount of the decarbonisation potential in the power sector.”


> Download the report