The UK does not need to build any new large gas-fired power plants to keep the lights on as it phases out coal in the lead-up to 2025.
That’s according to a new report from environmental group WWF and thinktank Sandbag, which suggests renewables will replace polluting fuels, leaving any new gas plants “destined to become expensive white elephants”.
The organisations believe wind and solar energy will surpass coal’s contribution to the energy mix by 2022 – along with battery storage and flexible technologies, clean forms of generation are expected to provide enough power and keep the country’s electricity grid stable.
They claim if all current gas developments in planning were to go ahead, they could lock the UK into emissions at levels exceeding its international climate obligations for the next 40 years and would leave the country with expensive infrastructure it doesn’t need.
The study suggests only 5GW of baseload gas capacity is required to support intermittent renewables – the UK already has almost 10GW of highly efficient combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power stations in operation.
Charles Moore, Analyst at Sandbag, said: “Amazingly, the UK’s coal phase-out will not require a ‘gas bridge’ as many predicted: surging renewable energy ensures that gas use in the power sector has already peaked.
“The UK does not need to build any more large gas power plants to keep the lights on.”