Daniel Monzani highlights energy security and decarbonisation at Whitehall Industry Group meeting

17 September 2018

The IOP was delighted to host the Whitehall Industry Group meeting at Portland Place on Tuesday 12 September, where Director for Energy Security, Networks and Markets, Daniel Monzani, shared his thoughts on energy security and decarbonisation, how the system works as a whole and transformations happening within the industry.

Daniel Monzani highlights energy security and decarbonisation at Whitehall Industry Group meeting

Robin Morris, Chair of IOP Energy Group, represented the interests of the IOP members and raised a number of points regarding the markets, getting the balance between the energy systems being driven by the markets vs. the strategic aims to significantly reduce carbon in the system.

Monzani focused his presentation around electricity and gas, and discussed the policy challenges and transformations happening within the industry and in particular, how energy security is maintained.

Reflecting on the Government’s role in the system, Monzani stressed that: “Energy is foundational to the economy and our way of life, and is only becoming more so.  It’s very important that whilst we need to make sure that we have enough supply, we don’t pay for it because the costs are reflected in our household bills and throughout the economy.”

Another topic raised was decarbonisation, which Monzani described as “nothing short of a revolution that it is fundamentally changing the basis on which energy, which is foundational to the economy, is produced.” In 1960 coal was used to generate electricity along with a little bit of oil;  nuclear power became the main generator of electricity in the 1970s and 80s, and the 1990s saw gas power stations using natural gas resources. In the 2000s there have been changes that really affected how the system works, and that was the introduction of renewables – wind, solar and biomass as well as various other things. Now the use of coal has gone down to 7% of the power that was produced in 2017, whereas in the 1960s and 70s it was 100%.

Monzani said that now the big challenge is figuring out how to decarbonise heat. He said: “Heat makes up about a third of emissions and decarbonising that is a whole different energy vector that we haven’t touched yet. The swings between seasons and during the day are very big. So energy security needs to be able to supply during the peaks, and we need to think about the services the system needs.”

He suggested various ways that this could be done, including using other low carbon gases such as hydrogen.  However, this produces another set of challenges, such as producing hydrogen in a low carbon way (by stripping carbon dioxide out of methane) and figuring out to integrate it into the system. This is something he and his team are still exploring.

Questions from the audience covered where nuclear fitted into the low carbon picture for the future, the importance of storage of energy and the role data is going to play. 

Daniel Monzani highlights energy security and decarbonisation at Whitehall Industry Group meeting

 

The IOP has been a member of the Whitehall Industry Group for the last two years, and is keen to support and share best practice across the public and private sectors. Commenting on behalf of the IOP at the start of the meeting, IOP’s Chief Operations Officer, Rachel Youngman said: “Physics-based businesses contribute £177 bn GVA into the UK economy, so our membership brings a lot of value for an organisation like ours by providing a safe environment for us to collaborate with business and with industry.

“We are very involved in making sure that we advocate for the continued investment into physics-based business. This is really important, particularly in terms of sustained funding into research and development, and we’re very much aligned and pleased to see the statement and intent coming through from the Industrial Strategy.”



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