The UK’s National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has advised to start phasing out unabated gas-fired power plants by 2040, marking a significant shift in the nation’s energy landscape. In its five-yearly report, the NIC suggests that by 2035, unabated gas-fired plants should contribute less than 2pc of total generation. In addition to restrictions on their participation in wholesale, balancing, and capacity markets by 2040, allowing them to operate only under extreme circumstances.
The NIC also proposes shortening capacity market contracts for unabated plants from 2025 onwards which ensures they do not extend beyond 2040. The government, to promote cleaner energy sources, is encouraged to prioritize carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen-fired units, developing business models to support these technologies.
The report calls for the deployment of large-scale power plants, including hydrogen-fired and CCS-equipped gas-fired units, by 2030. Furthermore, the NIC suggests establishing 60GW of short-duration flexible generation capacity by 2035, up from the current 15GW. Hydrogen utilization in industry, power generation, and energy storage is prioritized, with a focus on ruling out domestic heating use.
Additionally, the NIC recommends the development of a CO2 transmission pipeline and storage network to store 50mn t of CO2 equivalent annually by 2035. Energy system planning, demand reduction measures for buildings, and funding for low-carbon heating and heat pump adoption are also emphasized in the report.