Dylan Crompton, head of corporate sales at British Gas Business, outlines why natural gas is stepping stone to a cleaner energy future.
Using traditional energy to advance renewable goals may sound contradictory. But that is what’s required to successfully manage the UK’s transformation. Especially when the country is decommissioning energy capacity from coal and nuclear faster than renewables can be introduced. Natural gas, however, can help the transition to a green, low carbon economy by functioning as a temporary stepping stone. ‘Temporary’ being the operative word.
The world’s first coal-fired plant began producing electricity in 1882 in London. A little more than 70 years later, the UK established its first nuclear station in Cumbria. Both were considered ground-breaking innovations at the time.
Jump 60 years ahead, and we’re witnessing the dissipation of these sources. In April 2017, the country went an entire day without using coal to generate power. By the end of that same year, wind and solar generators were producing more electricity than nuclear plants did.
But this gear-shift isn’t easy. That’s because traditional sources aren’t just fizzling out. They’re disappearing at breakneck speed. In 2005, for instance, the Government assigned the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to take 17 nuclear plants out of rotation.
If that wasn’t enough, experts are also predicting an increase in energy demand. Population growth and an increase in the number of electric vehicles are cited as the primary reasons. In light of all this, how can the UK manage its renewable transformation?
The key lies in using a traditional source of energy to eke out renewables. That source is natural gas. Fortunately, the more renewables the UK installs, the quicker the country can phase out gas. The fact that the UK’s gas production is around 40% of what it was in 2000 supports this trend.
At British Gas, we already procure more electricity from renewables than we do from gas. In fact, our 40% rate of renewably sourced electricity is substantially higher than the national average of 24%. This means we can already provide our customers with 100% certificate-backed renewable electricity.
At Centrica we have recently added both NEAS, helping customers maximise value from energy assets, and REstore demand response specialists, to the group business capability.
These services lead to better energy management and allow us to efficiently adapt supply in real-time. Ultimately, they make decarbonising more efficient while we also maintain security of supply.
With all of our progressive offerings, we believe that British Gas is in pole position to become a leading provider in the UK’s sustainable energy future.
Find out what British Gas can do for your business at: britishgas.co.uk/business/gas- and-electricity/large-business