Debate Magazine

Gassing off

Posted on the 25 April 2021 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth

This is just one of many articles about the government's "ambitious" target to phase out new gas boilers by the mid 2030s. All the articles I've read take the saving in "greenhouse gases" to be a good and vitally necessary thing, naturally, stating that they do (not may) cause global warming.
However, this like every other article I could find on the internet completely ignores the fact that the amount of gas used in domestic heating is 26 million tons of oil equivalent per year, which just happens to also be the total consumption of electrical energy in the UK. So, to phase out gas heating, the electricity generating capacity of the UK will have to double, without using fossil fuels, as replacing gas burned in boilers with gas burned in power stations would be a pointless and extremely expensive exercise. Not only that, but the whole distribution network right down to the feeds to the meters will have to be uprated to carry the additional load. Needless to say, there is no announcement from the government about starting either of these upgrades.
I would like to think that the government's targets are just pious hopes expressed with an eye to a general election in 2024, but I'm not going to hold my breath. We live in an era of policy-based evidence, after all.

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