As part of the update of my book, and in preparation for a two-day energy management training course I am delivering shortly, I revisited the 2050 pathways model for decarbonisation of the UK economy by 80% by 2050.
I took the plunge and completed my own 2050 scenario, achieving an 81% reduction, summarised in the actions illustrated above. My model is heavily focused on the demand-side, as you can see from the red colours in the upper section of the screenshot above. This brings home the fact that no matter how many wind-farms we put up, unless we change our heating and transport to electricity, the supply-side changes will have little effect.
One particular quandary I had was how much land to dedicate to biomass. When I reached 78% emissions reductions, one of the few remaining ways to reach the 80% target was to increase the land use for biomass from 5% to 10%, or start to import biomass, neither of which I wanted to do. In the end, I achieved the target by turning down the average temperature in homes beyond what I really think is feasible. These kinds of decisions bring home the complexity of the energy system and the fact that no single technology can achieve the goal.