In June 2019, the UK Parliament passed into law a legally-binding commitment to achieve Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
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.
This commitment means many changes to the way we live, such as electric vehicles replacing petrol and diesel vehicles over the next few years.
The decarbonisation of our energy system is another essential part of this, and as a country, we are already making progress.
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 – and 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, such as wind turbines and nuclear, for the production of electricity. 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. Our teams at National Grid Electricity Transmission are working hard to make this possible, combining the best of British engineering and ingenuity with smart technology to bring power to the nation. We are working with the Government and our stakeholders to design network solutions that can facilitate the development of offshore wind at scale, minimise the impact of our infrastructure on local communities, and deliver value for our consumers.