UK grid operator National Grid predicts that the country will need a further 263GW of installed capacity to reach its 2050 net zero emissions target.
In it’s ‘Future Energy Scenarios 2019’ report, the operator notes that demand will reach 491 terrawatt-hours by 2050. This would require more than the 108GW of new generation capacity forecast in 2018.
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The report maps four likely scenarios for the UK’s energy future over a 30-year period, with the aim of stimulating discussion and debate rather than to provide “definitive predictions” according to the company.
National Grid also note that a net-zero scenario will require renewables and natural gas to be paired with carbon capture and storage in order to meet demand.
Head of strategy and regulation Kayte O’Neill said: “We balance supply and demand of GB energy day in day out so see first hand how the system is changing.
“Although these are not firm predictions we’ve talked to over 600 industry experts to build this insight and it’s clear whilst net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is achievable, there are significant changes ahead.
“Electric vehicles continue to be a catalyst for decarbonizing the system, making it more flexible as well as bringing down costs for consumers too – and whilst gas will still have an important role to play, a clear plan for the decarbonization of heat is needed.
“It’s our ambition to be able to operate a net zero electricity system by 2025 and the fundamental changes outlined in this report make it more important than ever to take a whole system view to ensure we have a coordinated approach to decarbonizing the whole energy sector.”