The future

Most of our heating and cooking comes from gas – changing this will be a major exercise. Many businesses and people in Scotland have invested large sums of money in their home appliances and our gas networks. Many say all of this can be replaced by electricity. This would require a substantial increase in low carbon electricity and would only be used during winter months making it very hard to justify economically. This would also involve significant disruption complete replacement of boilers, radiators and other appliances as well as significant strengthening of the local grid network. This could cost up to £14,000 per household.

We could move to a hydrogen based system in which the methane that currently flows through our pipes is made into hydrogen and carbon dioxide – the hydrogen being used as the low carbon fuel source and the carbon dioxide being stored or converted into carbonates for further industrial use. With this  only the boiler would need to be replaced and the existing gas pipeline infrastructure can be used to transport the hydrogen. The cost of this would be substantially lower at £5,000 per household.

But this would still need gas from Scotland.

Airth Drilling Site

Airth Drilling Site between Grangemouth and Stirling. 15 boreholes have been drilled between 1993 and 2007. Gas production reached 60 million cubic feet per day.

A large scale move towards heat pumps would require a significant expansion in power generation capacity to meet peak heating requirement, perhaps as much as 100 GWs. This would be extremely costly, particularly given that the extra power stations would sit idle for much of the year

Policy Exchange, 2016