Is natural gas the answer to the UK’s energy challenges?

Date: 5 Mar 2013
Speaker(s): Professor Jim Watson
Venue: University of Leeds

CCCEP Climate Week lecture

Gas supplies 30 per cent of the energy we use in the UK: to heat our homes, to power industry and to generate electricity. Within the low-carbon transition that the UK needs to make, gas will continue to be important. It will be some time before the millions of households that rely on gas will be able to switch to electric or renewable heating. Gas also accounts for 40 per cent of UK electricity generation – and the shift to gas in this sector has delivered a large share of our emissions reductions to date.

The future role of natural gas is at the heart of the increasingly fractious debates about UK energy policy – whether it is the pros and cons of shale gas, the heated arguments over renewable energy, or the allegations of price manipulation in wholesale energy markets. For enthusiasts, a continuing commitment to natural gas represents a low cost solution to our energy challenges. But others are more cautious, and point to significant economic and environmental risks that are associated with this fossil fuel.

In this lecture, Professor Watson will explore the potential future role of natural gas in the UK energy mix, and will discuss some of the reasons why this is so controversial.