The UK could more than halve its energy demand by 2050, making a substantial contribution to global and UK climate goals. The role of energy demand reduction in achieving net-zero in the UK. A new study brings together 17 energy demand modelling experts from within CREDS to provide extensive detail on the possibilities to reduce energy demand in every sector. These sectoral reductions in energy demand are brought together into a whole-system modelling approach, to understand the potential contribution of energy demand reduction to support climate action in the UK. Without energy demand reduction we will not achieve the UK’s Sixth Carbon Budget target in 2035 of 78% below 1990 levels, or our 2050 net-zero target. The UK Government has yet to define how energy demand will contribute to achieving our climate ambitions. Given the evidence presented in this report, it is imperative that the UK Government outline a detailed strategy and supporting policies to enable energy demand reduction to fulfil its necessary role in achieving rapid emissions reductions in the UK. Key findings: Without substantial reductions in energy demand, meeting climate targets becomes extremely expensive due to the substantial increases in the size of the energy system; Meeting carbon budgets aligned with net-zero by 2050 without substantial reductions in energy demand is extremely difficult and undesirable; Without a stronger role for energy demand reduction, the electricity system needs to be four times the size that it is today. Substantial energy demand reduction will moderate the expansion of the electricity system to double its current size;
CREDS 6th Oct 2021 read more »
Did Glasgow City Council do Scotland a favour by saying out loud how much it would cost to get all its housing stock up to reasonable energy efficiency standards but then unconvincingly fluffing the line about how it was going to pay for it? Yes, it probably did, because it prompted a debate we very much need to have which we’re not having. Heating houses in Scotland produces nearly three times as much carbon as all of our transport combined and many multiples of how much we belch out generating electricity. Everyone knows we need to fix this; no-one is talking about how to pay for it. But we really need to talk about it. Glasgow has priced the cost of retrofitting insulation to all its houses at about £11 billion and that is roughly in line with Common Weal’s costings for the whole of Scotland where we think that about £40 billion is needed (plus another £25 billion to replace current heating systems). This is big money because fixing the environmental performance of housing is expensive, time-consuming and varies greatly from house to house. We priced it at about £15,000 per household (£25,000 including heating) based on real-world case studies. Those case study numbers are higher but they have tended to be based on houses with particularly poor environmental performance. Economies of scale should help too – if it’s all done right.
Commonweal 7th Oct 2021 read more »