UK power demand to soar on plans to end gas home heating - research

FILE PHOTO: Electricity pylons and a cooling tower from Eggborough power station are seen above a farmers' field in Kellingley, Britain August 1, 2018. Picture taken August 1, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble

LONDON (Reuters) - Increasing use of electricity to warm Britain’s homes instead of gas could more than triple power demand from the heating sector by 2050, energy research company Aurora said on Tuesday.

Around 80 percent of British homes are heated by gas, but Chancellor Philip Hammond last week pledged to ban fossil fuel heating systems in new homes built from 2025.

Heating homes from electric sources such as heat pumps could increase power demand from the sector to around 100 terawatt hours (TWh) a year by 2050, from around 27 TWh a year today, Aurora said in new research.

Britain’s total electricity demand is around 320 TWh a year.

The Committee on Climate Change, an independent advisory panel, said energy use in homes accounted for around 14 percent of British greenhouse gas emissions and must be reduced if the country was to meet emission reduction targets.

Britain has a legally binding target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent compared with 1990 levels by 2050.

Wider moves to cut greenhouse gas emissions and electrify heating and transport could increase electricity demand across Europe by as much as 85 percent by 2050, the analysts said.

Renewables such as wind and solar could provide more than 60 percent of Europe’s power supply by 2040, with around 400 million euros (£342 million) of investment needed to build new projects, Aurora said.

Reporting by Susanna Twidale; Editing by Dale Hudson