The UK is committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. As the group of organisations responsible for connecting millions of people and businesses to the energy they use every day, National Grid is committed to supporting the delivery of a decarbonised energy system.
In June 2019, the UK Parliament made a legally-binding commitment to achieve Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The existing electricity transmission system does not have the capacity to transport all the energy that is being currently being developed and is expected to come online by 2030, while operating reliably and securely to the standards required. The Yorkshire GREEN Project would ensure the network can manage significantly increased power flows from onshore wind energy projects in Scotland, offshore wind projects based in the North Sea off the North East of England and subsea cables to other countries. This energy needs to flow to Yorkshire and the rest of the country, allowing us to meet the increasing demand for greener energy.
With power flows set to double within the next ten years, Yorkshire GREEN is needed to allow energy to flow securely and efficiently on the network in the North and North East of England, balancing and maintaining supply and demand. The Project will link up two existing overhead transmission lines, allowing additional energy to flow north to south. This will increase network capacity and flexibility.
Put simply, ‘Net Zero’ means removing the same amount of greenhouse gas from the atmosphere as we put into it, to help protect the environment from climate change.
Great Britain is home to the largest operating offshore wind capacity in the world, with around 8.5 gigawatts (GW) in operation and a further 1.9GW under construction. We recently broke the record for the longest period without burning coal since 1882. In recent years, more of our energy has come from renewables than fossil fuels.
Moving away from burning fossil fuels means more investment in lower-carbon technologies to produce electricity, such as wind turbines and nuclear. The Government’s Energy White Paper outlines an ambitious plan to increase the energy delivered by offshore wind to 40GW by 2030 – enough to power every home in the UK.
The Climate Change Committee anticipates that electricity demand will at least double by 2050 as we shift to clean energy to charge electric vehicles, heat our homes and power our industry. The Committee estimates that, as a country, we will need more than 100GW of offshore wind to meet Net Zero by 2050, providing opportunities for growth and job creation across Great Britain.
Up to 250,000 jobs could be created by 2030 in the expanding green energy sector, including up to 60,000 through offshore wind alone. By 2050, our own analysis indicates that the energy sector needs to fill around 400,000 jobs to build the Net Zero energy workforce. To accommodate this huge increase in energy on our network, we will need to upgrade our energy transmission infrastructure.