Lowering demand to play ‘important role’ in securing UK energy supply

An LNG tanker
An LNG tanker

Reducing demand will play a pivotal role in ensuring security for the UK’s future energy supply, according to a new report.

The UK Energy Research Centre (UKREC) says policies to reduce demand and improve efficiency will leave the country less vulnerable to risks including price shocks and shortages.

Its report – The Security of UK Energy Futures – comes following a winter which saw the National Grid put out a gas deficit warning, brought on by extreme conditions.

The document states: “The results suggest that there is an important role for energy efficiency and energy demand reduction in energy security strategies.

“As others have argued, there is a tendency for such strategies to be dominated by supply side measures, and to neglect the important roles the demand side could play.”

The report goes on to say that issues with infrastructure over winter “tested the resilience” of the UK gas system.

In December, the major Forties Pipeline System which carries almost 40% of the UK’s North Sea oil and gas output, was shut down after a hairline crack was discovered in Aberdeenshire.

The report states that there is an improved need for flexibility in supply.

Meanwhile it adds that the relationship between lowering emissions and energy security is not straightforward, with cyber-attacks becoming more likely with new technology being used.

It states: “Low carbon electricity systems are likely to require new approaches to balancing supply and demand. Our energy system will need to be increasingly resilient to cyber-attacks.”