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The future of domestic electricity in the UK
The main concern in the future of domestic electricity in the UK is to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions. The generation of electricity accounts for 30 percent of these types of emissions. The UK will become increasingly dependent on imported gas with the closing of many nuclear and coal plants. The two main priorities in the future for the use of domestic electricity will be emissions reductions and the security of the energy supply.
Most of the UK's electricity had been generated by nuclear stations, coal, and gas. Back as far as 1990, gas only generated one percent of electricity throughout the land. In 2006 this figure was up to 39 percent and is growing, and more than 70 percent of homes are heated through the use of gas. Coal stations are closing due to the emissions of sulfur dioxide, and now only one-third of the UK's electricity is supplied by these stations, as opposed to two thirds back in 1990. These numbers will decrease even further as stations continue to close, and the plan is that another 1/3 of these will be closed by 2015. Providing a fifth of the electricity generation were nuclear plants, but most of these are expected to be closed withing the next 10 years. Renewable energy is on the rise, although for now it remains a very low percentage of electrical supply. CHP, or combined heat and power, is a growing interest in this field.
In the next five years you can expect to see some CHP developments, as well as gas fired plants and wind, hydro electric power, biomass, waste incineration, and coal gasification plants on the rise. Some of the bigger domestic electric companies have proposed building bigger and better new coal and nuclear stations over the next 15 years, while others have proposed marine renewables, such as wave, tidal, and wind, and gas fired CHP.
There are two key issues that need to be addressed when talking about the issue of the future of domestic electricity in the UK. Renewal is number one, as much of the infrastructure of the system that was built in the 1950's and 1960's is coming to the end of it's design life. Number two is reconfiguration, which means being able to have the existing network adaptable to low carbon generation.
While there are decisions to be made for the future of domestic electricity in the UK, it appears the government at least has a handle on what is happening and what needs to be done. Expect changes within the next 15 years to make this utility not only more efficient, but also less harmful in it's effects on society.