Robin Gupta, 33, leads the Zero2050 project that seeks to not just decarbonise South Wales but, in turn, show the way for other regions to do the same. This ground-breaking initiative involves a range of stakeholders, from government to community groups, all working together towards a greener South Wales.
I’m responsible for the Zero2050 project, which aims to develop plausible optimised, decarbonisation pathways for the whole energy system in South Wales. This collaborative project is about taking a regional, whole-system approach, with a clear direction for utilities on the opportunities to make a positive contribution to this vision and to wider society.
Reaching Net Zero by 2050 is a bigger challenge for some UK regions than others. We’re focusing on South Wales, because it has one of the most consistently carbon-dense profiles in the country. Despite a steady decline in heavy industry over the last century, it retains a core base of manufacturing, fossil-power generation and oil refineries. There are also emission impacts from livestock farming and a shortfall in carbon-absorbing woodland.
While National Grid started this initiative, it’s a true partnership approach and a shared plan.
The Net Zero pathway should safeguard public interest, especially vulnerable customers. We’re consulting widely, including forming a cross-industries consortium comprising 23 major companies. The Welsh government is firmly behind the project, and we’re drawing support from diverse audiences; including the energy regulator, academics, local authorities, community groups and climate change think tanks. While National Grid started this initiative, it’s a true partnership approach and a shared plan.
To be successful in this role, you need strong analytical and modelling skills, power-system knowledge and ability to understand new technologies quickly. You also need to be a stakeholder manager, understanding others’ positions while keeping everyone working to the Net Zero goal.
Having a job that tackles climate change is not just important to me – it’s important for the prosperity of our future generations.
Having a job that tackles climate change is not just important to me – it’s important for the prosperity of our future generations. I’m convinced that what we learn from this South Wales project will influence decarbonisation blueprints for other UK regions and be a global inspiration.