How does GB supply and demand work? What needs to change? How will it work in 2050?
The UK Government has set out the goal of being Net Zero by 2050.
Various agencies and organisations - including the Government's own Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy - are responsible for realising this goal.
We're going to take an independent look at the steps being taken to achieve this in relation to electricity. Will these steps be enough? Can they work?
On this page we're going to:
- Outline the way that supply & demand currently work for GB electricity. This describes what happens now.
- We'll then identify the changes that have been selected to achieve net zero by 2050. These are the changes that are considered to be necessary and sufficient.
- Finally, we'll describe the effect. What does this mean for GB electricity supply & demand in 2050?
On other pages we look at specific years as examples of the current situation and the effects of the changes. We also look at some of the most specific and problematic issues that will arise.
(Note that Northern Ireland's electricity infrastructure is part of the Irish "system", so we're actually going to look at Great Britain (GB) where electricity and gas supply and distribution are managed by the National Grid.)
What happens now?
Take a look at a typical week in 2020 and step through how supply and demand worked.
What needs to change?
In order to meet net zero we need to reduce the production of greenhouse gases to zero or less.
The amount of greenhouse gases being emitted in measured in millions of tonnes of CO2 equivalent (MtCO2e).
What does this mean for electricity in 2050?
In order to see what this would mean for electricity supply and demand in 2050, let's project the week we've been looking at forward to w/c 21 November 2050 and assume the wind and weather pattern is the same. How would GB cope?.
This is not a particularly difficult or unusual week as far as wind is concerned.