Generating the Future:
UK energy systems fit for 2050
This report, published in March 2010 of Engineering, considers possible energy scenarios that could meet the UK’s target of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases by 80 per cent by 2050. Four scenarios are explored. They describe the whole energy system in broad brush strokes and are illustrative rather than prescriptive, identifying the principal components of the system and contributing towards a better systems level understanding of the most salient issues.
Scenarios never predict the future; they only show a range of possible futures. However, some fundamental characteristics of all the possible energy futures for the UK can be deduced and these are described below.
The study shows that:
There is no single ‘silver bullet’ that will achieve the required 80% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Fundamental restructuring of the whole of the UK’s energy system will be unavoidable.
Demand reductions across all sectors of the economy will be essential through a combination of increased efficiencies and behavioural change.
The full suite of low-carbon energy supply technologies already available (or identified as credible) will be needed, including nuclear, renewables and carbon capture and storage brought together in a balanced way.
The scale of the engineering challenge is massive.
The report concludes that current government structures, including market regulation, are, as yet, simply not adequate for the task. What is required is a reorganisation of government departments to coordinate and drive action as well as to provide the clear and stable long-term framework for business and the.
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