“Beast from the East” raises gas storage questions

“Beast from the East” raises gas storage questions

Thanks to sub-zero temperatures experienced last week in the UK, 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 carefully considered, says an industry spokesperson. 

Martyn Bridges, Director of Technical Communication and Product Management at Worcester Bosch believes that the current gas infrastructure in the UK is more capable than any other energy source of dealing with peaks in demand.

Martyn comments: “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 explains that any alternative needs to be carefully considered and investments made.

He 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.”

Having a wide array of energy sources, from oil, to gas and renewables, is preferable continues Martyn, who believes that it would not be realistic to stop the majority of UK households from relying on gas.

He says: “Being realistic about the capability of gas storage alternatives needs to be front and centre of any review. In recent times, 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 just isn’t feasible.”

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