A recent report from the national grid suggests that the carbon emissions from the United Kindom’s electricity system could turn negative in thirteen years time.
If carbon capture technology is used alongside the expanding renewable energy industry then it provides an opportunity for the UK to reach its climate change targets and potentially become carbon negative by 2023.
Earlier this week, the National Grid stated that the plan for a carbon negative grid included the use of 30 million electric vehicles in use and 8 million heat pumps installed in UK households to replace gas boilers.
The most progressive vision for Britain to become emission negative meant that the climate change targets set out for 2050 cound instead be net by 2033. The main way this would be achieved would be through using a combination of new carbon capture technologies and bioenergy sources.
The head of strategy at National Grid ESO, Mark Herring, has said that only one out of the four most realistic path ways to a net zero economy by 2050 included not relying heavily on low carbon electricity.
It is expected that there will be a large boom in renewable energy projects from now until 2050. With an estimated of at least 1.4 gigawatts of new solar power and 3 gigawatts of new wind power expected every year alongside a widespread introduction of electric vehicles which are hoped to act as smart chargining batteries which will aid balancing the grid.
Herring stated, ‘Across all scenarios, we see growth in renewable energy generation, including significant expansion in installed offshore wind capacity. There is widespread uptake in domestic electric vehicles, and growth and investment in hydrogen and carbon capture technologies too’.
Herring went on to add that even though it is proven that net zero emissions is possible there are still many hurdles in the way before it is achieved.
The report from the National Grid also warned that Britain may not meet its legally bound climate target to achieve net zero emisisons by 2050 unless swift action is taken by the government. This would mean the government needs to introduce key energy policies which will promote the use of carbon capture technologies and increase the use of renewable energy further.
Bioenergy has been suggested as a way to achieve net zero. This is because the emissions which are generated from burning the wood pellets to create electricity is offset by the carbon dioxide which is absorbed by the forests where the trees are growing.
However some critics dispute this idea.