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The Future Of Energy Resourcing In The UK

Who really knows what The Future Of Energy Resourcing In The UK looks like?

Answer: No one really.

There are so many drivers within the energy industry that impact the future of energy resourcing, generation and transmission within the UK, not too mention the wealth of usually conflicting expert opinion, that it is very difficult to keep track of the direction the industry will take. And like many uncertainties, the challenge is to strive for accurate forecasting and a clear path.

Easier said than done.

But, the National Grid, working with the energy industry (including DECC, Ofgem and the Government, to name a few) have been creating ‘future energy scenarios’ for five years to enable the parties involved to pull together the pieces of the puzzle of future energy resourcing in the UK.

Each year this group review their models against the prevailing economic climate and industry data and produce revised scenarios against which to test their future energy strategies.

The UK Future Energy Scenarios conference in Westminster outlined two scenarios to move the challenge forward.

‘Gone Green’ – ‘A scenario designed to meet environmental targets; 15% of all energy from renewable sources by 2020, greenhouse gas emissions meeting the carbon budgets out to 2027, and an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.’ ‘Gone Green’ assumes an upturn in the economy, a future of electric vehicles and success of the Green Deal and the Carbon Reduction Commitment, as well as greater consumer engagement in the holy trinity of renewable energy, the smart grid solution and smart meter roll out.

‘Slow progression’ – ‘A scenario where developments in renewable and low carbon energy are comparatively slow, and the renewable energy target for 2020 is not met. And whilst the carbon reduction target for 2020 is achieved the indicative target for 2030 is not.’ ‘Slow progression’ assumes that the economy will not recover as quickly as hoped, global climate agreements will not be secured and a lack of internal policy and a united perspective on the future of energy management and security will impact momentum.

As things currently stand, ‘Slow progression’ is the more likely scenario we will be facing and the one that will likely drive much of the decision-making.

However, for now at least optimism is strong, and the implementation of the Electricity Market Reform (EMR), along with the move to create ‘capacity markets’ and ‘contracts for difference (CfDs)’ is a sign of real progress. Indeed Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, is confident that significant investment will be made over the next 12 to 18 months, which will create exponential increases in the ability to hit the multiple energy targets laid out over the next seven years.

Underlining this with some greater caution, National Grid warn that progress within the next two years is critical and development of UK energy policy is essential if we are to be confident that meeting these targets is indeed “challenging but achievable”.

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