Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tracking the Switch from Fossil Fuels to Renewables; THE Transition to a Fossil Fuel-Free Electricity System Is Being Charted in Real-Time by a Leading North East Energy Expert. PETER MCCUSKER Reports

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tracking the Switch from Fossil Fuels to Renewables; THE Transition to a Fossil Fuel-Free Electricity System Is Being Charted in Real-Time by a Leading North East Energy Expert. PETER MCCUSKER Reports

Article excerpt

Byline: PETER MCCUSKER

LAUNCHED last year, Dr Andrew Crossland's website and twitter channel have thousands of followers keen to access his energy expertise.

"MYGRIDGB" - www.mygridgb.co.

uk - records the changing profile of the UK electricity generation and comes as the country recently experienced its first coal-free power day since the network's creation.

On sunny and windy days, 70% of the country's electricity can come from renewable sources, and Dr Crossland, of the Durham Energy Institute at Durham University, says we can achieve a low-carbon system in little more than a decade.

To do this, the UK will need to treble its solar capacity to 40GW, more than double wind capacity to 35GW, and double our storage capabilities, he says.

"The first electricity network was built on coal, then we had nuclear power, then it was gas and we are now building a renewable energy system.

"This is the challenge for the current generation. It is an exciting challenge going forward and my website aims to chart this progress."

He supports the government's ambition of removing coal from the power generation system by 2025, but disagrees with its desire to develop a UK shale gas industry.

"It will be more expensive than the gas we currently have and we do not need it, as we will have wind and solar. We should avoid it."

Backers of a shale industry say it is vital to the UK's heating needs and as a feedstock for industries such as Teesside's chemical and processing sector, in order to make plastics for things such as heart valves.

"Shale gas is a finite resource and we should to look to diversify our gas supplies though recycling and biogas," says Dr Crossland.

While he sees a role for nuclear powering providing back-up - or base load capacity when there is no wind or sun - he describes the Hinkley Point nuclear deal as the "biggest incentive for renewable energy".

"This deal provides huge subsidies and will push up energy prices. The consumer and government have been ripped off."

French energy giants EDF secured a guaranteed price of PS92.50 for every megawatt hour of electricity - for 35 years - for their Somerset plant; and this is more than double the current wholesale price.

Last week, the National Audit Office said the PS18bn deal was "a risky and expensive project" with the total subsidy bill rising from PS6bn to PS30bn.

"We will need some nuclear power to achieve our 2030 low-carbon ambitions but we will have to find a way of securing better deals than the one for Hinkley Point," says Dr Crossland.

The website features his future energy manifesto, which maps out the electricity generation mix which would allow us to meet our carbon reduction targets by 2030.

This government is committed to targeting carbon emissions of between 50g and 100g of CO2 for every kilowatt hour of electricity generated by 2030, compared to current level of around 250g. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.