Progress, but much more to do for net zero 2050 says National Grid's FES 2022

Mon 18 July 2022 View all news

National Grid ESO's Future Energy Scenarios (FES) 2022 report highlights progress in the transformation of the UK's energy system but says that major evolution is needed to achieve a system to deliver net zero by 2050. The 2022 version has raised electricity demand across its scenarios compared with earlier reports.

National Grid says that an energy system that is clean, secure, affordable and fair is achievable but doing so depends on urgent and strategic development of networks, markets, and technologies. 

FES 2022 says that achieving net zero by 2050 across the whole economy will require greenhouse fas removal in some sectors to offset emissions from hard to abate sectors. It says that the energy sector is well placed to deliver this through technologies such as Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) and Direct Air Carbon Capture and Storage.

Under all the scenarios for transport (and heat), electricity overtakes fossil fuels to become the biggest supplier of energy to end users. This means the power sector must be fully decarbonised.

Renewables are expected to emerge as the dominant source of electricity generation for Britain between now and 2050. By 2030, wind and solar generation will have risen to at least 66% of generation (from 43% today) and by 2050 will meet between 70% and 84% of annual electricity demand.

The report says that strategic whole systems thinking will be needed to achieve desired objectives. This means a range of flexible technologies to integrate the generation output from weather-dependent renewables, ensuring that supply is reliable and able to minimise curtailment. The scenarios demonstrate the need to use low carbon technologies and fuels, especially hydrogen and carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS), alongside electricity storage, interconnection, and demand-side flexibility, to deliver a balanced whole energy system.

Across all scenarios, National Grid says that strategic investment is required now to develop the whole energy system and deliver clean, secure, affordable, and fair energy for all consumers.

In his foreword for the report, National Grid ESO’s Executive Director Fintan Slye says that the net zero timetable is achievable if all stakeholders can work together: “Delivering [the transition] will require a strong partnership between industry and policymakers, and full engagement across society and consumers. Never before has collaboration been more important.”

The Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce, convened by Zemo Partnership, has been working closely with National Grid ESO and many other key stakeholders in the electrification of transport to help maximise the opportunities for the UK's energy sector from the accelerating transition to electric vehicles.



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