Conferences and seminars

Tyndall Manchester seminars

Past and Prospective Developments in Gas Networks in Britain- Wednesday 22nd April 2015, 4.00pm, C1, George Begg Building

Professor Peter Pearson, Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College, London

Projections of low carbon pathways to the UK’s 2050 climate change target suggest a need to go from dependence on natural gas as a heating fuel, to electric heat pumps, biomass boilers, etc. and to undertake gas decarbonisation (via CCS and/or injection of biogas, and conversion of low pressure networks to supply hydrogen). Consequently, the low-pressure gas mains networks might need decommissioning by 2050. At the same time, the international exploitation of shale gas has led to pressures to enhance the short to medium term presence of gas in the energy system.  Against this context of a contested transition away from natural gas, the presentation examines developments in British gas networks, from their origin in the early 19th century to their prospects in the 21st.  It explores innovation and transformation in the industry, from its original plant-based distributed operation to a system based on local, national and ultimately international networks. It examines what insights or lessons for the future might be gleaned from these past experiences.

Professor Peter Pearson is based at the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College. From 2010 to early 2015 he was Director of the Low Carbon Research Institute of Wales, Cardiff University. Before that, he directed the Imperial College Centre for Energy Policy and Technology (ICEPT). His research focuses on past and prospective long run energy and infrastructure transitions and their policy implications. He co-leads, with Prof Geoff Hammond of Bath, the EPSRC funded 9-university research consortium, Realising Transition Pathways: Whole systems analysis for a UK more electric low carbon energy future (2012-16); he also leads a historical analysis workstream within the project, which has explored past developments in the electricity, gas and water industries.

Conference papers submitted to the Shipping in Changing Climates Conference, Liverpool, 18th and 19th June 2014


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