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Our Changing Energy Landscape

The global community must meet the opportunities and challenges of taking action on climate change.

The UK played a central role in securing the 2015 Paris Agreement which builds upon existing UK legislation that targets a CO2 reduction on 1990 levels by 50% ahead of 2030 and 80% by 2050. Within the Paris agreement, 195 countries have made the commitment to work collectively to combat Climate Change and adapt to its effects. From the international agreement there have been significant changes to carbon reduction targets. The UK has joined fellow international Governments by setting ambitious targets.

One of the key challenges of addressing Climate Change is the decarbonisation of the world’s energy supply chain, whilst ensuring it remains reliable and affordable to all. For this the Government and consumers of energy within the UK are expecting energy companies to play a leading role within the journey to a low carbon economy.

The sale of new
diesel and petrol cars
and vans will be phased out in the UK by 2040
The Scottish Government has adopted a tighter target of 2032 to phase out the need for new diesel and petrol vehicles

Phase out
unabated coal
generation by 2025.

All houses to have a
Smart Meter by 2020.

By 2050
reduce Greenhouse gases by 80%
compared to 1990 levels.

We are seeing changes in the use, distribution and generation of energy.

Traditional power stations such as large coal power plants are being replaced with increasing numbers of small scale renewable generation such as photovoltaics and wind. This, coupled with the changing way we use energy for everyday activities such as heating and transport, means we need to look at innovative approaches to ensure the smart networks of the future are resilient, flexible and affordable for all.

Heat and transport are now the two dominant carbon emission contributors and account for around 56% of the UKs emissions. It is essential that within the UK we work together to reduce this percentage. To facilitate the decarbonisation of Heat and Transport, we need to continue developing innovative solutions.

We are expecting trends for electric vehicles and heating to accelerate in the coming years as more consumers change to lower carbon electric options. The pace of change is difficult to forecast, however the recent experience of photovoltaics uptake in the UK serves as a reminder that the uptake of other new low carbon technologies like electric vehicles could follow a similar pattern as costs reduce and public acceptance increases. For example, the 2012 forecast for photovoltaic uptake was reached within 4 years, instead of 18 years! Auto industry experts predict that by 2022 electric vehicles will be cheaper than our traditional petrol and diesel vehicles.

The electrification of both heat and transport will have a dramatic impact on the level of electricity demanded by both businesses and households. One of the opportunities and challenges we are currently facing in the UK is the charging is uncontrolled, there is the potential that peak electricity demand in the UK could greatly increase. If we have 8m electric vehicles by 2030, as some predictions suggest, then the UK peak demand for electricity could increase by 50%.