IS THE END OF GAS IS NIGH?

A major report from the influential Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) has foreseen “Zero carbon electricity replacing natural gas as the energy source for space and water heating”.

The IPPR used the same science employed by the Government in the Energy White Paper and by Imperial College when contributing to the Stern report into the economics of climate change.

Welcoming the report Richard Scott, Director of Marketing at Applied Energy said “The carbon content of gas will always be fixed, the carbon content of electricity continues to fall – low carbon electricity means low carbon heating and hot water with electric products”

Some still doubt the science of climate change. This years’ United Nations panel on climate change attempted to end the argument, stating that climate change is ‘unequivocal’ and may bring ‘abrupt and irreversible impacts’.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said “Today the world’s scientists have spoken clearly and with one voice”. The majority of the world’s experts on climate change said they were 90% certain that man-made factors were the main cause of global warming.

Their report confirmed that a further rise of between 1.8 to 4 degrees can be expected, which could result in 20 to 30% of species facing a ‘high risk’ of extinction, with up to 2 Billion people facing increased water scarcity and up to 250 million facing hunger, as crop yields fall, and homelessness as sea levels rise.

The Energy Bill, due in a few months, therefore looks set to usher in a new era for micro-generation and low carbon electricity, as both become integral to reducing carbon emissions and improving energy security.

Mr. Scott for Applied Energy, home to Creda, Xpelair and Redring, said “Cost effective low carbon homes are best achieved with a mix of improved air-tightness and thermal efficiency of construction, combined with the appropriate use of technologies like mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, micro-wind turbines, solar hot water and heat-pumps.

But it’s always better to require less energy in the first place. The next revision of Part L of the building regulations must introduce tougher mandatory U-values and levels of air-tightness.

It’s within air-tight, thermally efficient homes that modern electric heating and hot water will, as this major report confirms, play a vital role. It already does in many countries around the world - Japan has long recognised that electricity is the only truly sustainable fuel.”

56 per cent of the world’s gas reserves are in just three countries, Russia, Iran and Qatar. In two years time 33 per cent of the UK’s gas will need to be imported, by 2020 it’s 80 per cent.

Financial Times columnist, Martin Wolf recently wrote “The world’s energy needs will be more than 50 per cent higher in 2030 than today” and went on to predict higher energy prices and a shift in the balance of power to Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia. This is the consequence of worsening energy security.

Low carbon electricity radically improves our security of energy supplies and, as the IPPR have now confirmed, producing heat and hot water from electricity also makes a major contribution to reducing carbon emissions.

Moves are underway to ensure the future carbon savings from electricity are built-in to the building regulations. A ‘carbon- milestones’ table, which could achieve this, has the backing of many MP’s

The vast majority of the world’s scientists now agree on the problem and there are clear solutions offered by Stern and the IPPR. UK politicians must cease this clarity and quickly act to improve security of energy supplies and reduce carbon emissions. Tougher U-values and air-tightness, and the introduction of a carbon milestones table that allows low carbon electricity to create the low carbon heat and hot water of the future, is a simple and cost effective start.

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