Why Lord Oxburgh Ruled Out Electrification Of Heat

By Paul Homewood



While we are on the question of decarbonising heat, we should take account of Lord Oxburgh’s report to the Secretary of State in 2016.

This was what he found:





To summarise:

1) Even with much better insulation, maximum heating demand would amount to 200 GW, four times  the maximum demand for electricity

2) On top of this would come additional load from EVs.

3) There would be issues with grid stability if we went the heat pump route. Heat pumps in any event are not a practical solution for existing housing stock.

4) Even with extra wind power, there would need to be a significant amount of despatchable generation from either CCGTs and/or small nuclear reactors.

5) There is currently no known cost-effective form of inter-month storage available at the scale required to meet these demands

6) Electrification of heating would involve an enormous increase in generating capacity to meet winter demand, but this would be of little use for the rest of the year.

7) The only alternative would be hydrogen, which is ridiculously expensive, wasteful, and crucially still needs CCS to mitigate emissions.

Gummer’s report today addresses none of these issues, but blithely assumes that we can simply wave a magic wand and move away from using natural gas with little cost or difficulty.



February 22, 2019 at 02:30AM

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