SCCS response to Energy and Climate Change Committee inquiry into 2020 renewable heat and transport targets
Haszeldine, R Stuart
The UK trajectory for decarbonisation has been predicated on the creation of very low- carbon electricity by 2030 and subsequent electrification of heat and transport. This seems increasingly unlikely to be delivered on time due to the very slow progress of CCS, slow progress on nuclear, uncertainty in future renewable electricity growth and underperforming demand reduction measures. In the UK, heat demand from gas supplies is about three times that of electricity demand. It is proposed that the UK should examine decarbonised heat much more closely. Instead of using electricity, heat can be provided by hydrogen. The least cost method of industrial hydrogen production is from gas or coal sources. Both these methods are very well proven. But both require CO2 capture at centralised sites, which could commence at industrial complexes, such as Grangemouth or Teesside, and transport to secure storage sites. These transport networks can be synergistic with CO2 transport to storage from industrial and power CCS projects. Hydrogen can be distributed locally through existing urban pipe networks where these have been upgraded to high standards. To enable this to operate as a market, the Renewable Heat Incentive needs to be adapted to admit heat derived from decarbonised fossil fuel, and not limited to renewables.