Thanks to the sub-zero temperatures experienced last week, the National Grid reported fears of a potential gas supply shortage. While this did not happen, the question of whether the UK needs to explore alternatives to gas storage should be considered carefully, according to Worcester Bosch’s Martyn Bridges.
Martyn, who is director of technical communication and product management at Worcester Bosch, believes the current gas infrastructure in the UK is more capable than any other energy source of dealing with peaks in demand.
He says: “The shortfall comment issued by National Grid needs to be taken with a dose of tentative caution. It is normal in extreme weather circumstances for warnings to be issued as standard. In this case no domestic gas supplies were cut off, and neither was National Grid forced to ask industrial users to stop using gas.”
Following the cold snap, however, a number of unions and companies have called for an urgent re-evaluation of the UK’s gas storage capacity.
Martyn continues: “It must be remembered that we do have the ability to store gas for colder weather eventualities, while alternatives such as electricity cannot currently be stored. Without significant investment, this isn’t going to change.”
The UK should rely on a wide range of energy sources including oil, gas and renewables, according to Martyn, who believes it would not be realistic to stop the majority of UK households from relying on gas. Any review, he says, should be realistic about the capability of gas storage alternatives.
“Electricity generation from low-carbon sources is being considered as a potential solution but, as previously mentioned, lots of work and investment would be required to make this happen, and at the moment it just isn’t feasible.”