Sector coupling is seen as solution to two of the challenges the energy systems of tomorrow will face. The rise of variable renewables and the declining share of coal and nuclear power in many jurisdictions will tighten the relationship between the security of electricity supply and the security of natural gas supply. This supply-side sector coupling, though not new, is growing in importance.
What is new is the use of low carbon energy to substitute for fossil fuels in end use. Most commonly this would come from low carbon electricity substituting directly for fossil fuels – in EVs, in heating and in industry as part of a strategy to decarbonise the energy system. This end-use sector coupling is not merely a one-way process – the new electric end-use technologies thus enabled promise to keep the power systems of the future reliable at a reasonable cost. Even newer is the concept of using today’s pipeline network to supply low carbon gas in the future, with low carbon electricity potentially playing a role in manufacturing the gas. Our session will examine this complex subject, by presentations on particular aspects of sector coupling and concluding with a panel to examine the barriers to greater uptake of some of these innovative approaches to a low carbon energy system.