A report from energy consultancy, Wood MacKenzie, says Britain is at risk of blackouts because of a lack of gas storage.
In a recent report, Wood MacKenzie said the loss of the Rough storage site in 2017 has left the UK market with limited storage availability, making it more reliant on continental supply to balance during peak periods. It points out how extreme weather conditions, often referred to as ‘the Beast from the East’, forced National Grid to announce a Gas Deficit on 1 March 2018, with coal-fired power generation saving the day. But Wood MacKenzie says coal is unlikely to be available should future similar situations occur.
Lancashire is uniquely placed to solve this problem with a combination of planned new gas storage below the Wyre Estuary, and shale gas extraction.
That’s according to Lee Petts, managing director of stakeholder engagement firn, 52M Consulting, who said: “Lancashire is blessed with the perfect geology for producing and storing gas.
“It is underlain by a thick band of shale rock thought to contain as much as 200 trillion cubic feet of gas, but also benefits from significant salt deposits under the River Wyre that are capable of being turned into secure gas storage caverns like those already operating safely under parts of Cheshire.
“Together, the ability to not only produce gas but also store it means Lancashire could play a significant role in helping to stave-off future energy shortages.”
Petts says that the cancellation of the Moorside nuclear project, which was due to supply 7% of the UK’s electricity needs, further highlights the importance of getting on with developing onshore gas production and storage, but notes that there’s also a role for new renewables projects like the £400 million tidal energy barrage proposed for the River Wyre.
Getting new energy infrastructure built in the UK often proves time-consuming and expensive, especially as schemes are navigated through the planning process. Petts argues that the right approach to stakeholder engagement can make the difference between success and failure.