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The UK's energy policy has evolved since the birth of the industrial revolution. The development of the electricity network represented a significant step forward whilst the use of coal as a fuel in the UK is about to come to an end. We now face different challenges as we look to 2050 and reducing our carbon emissions.
The lack of investment in new generation capacity following privatisation of the electricity network in the late 1980's is now presenting itself as additional cost to consumers as end of life capacity is replaced but it also presents an opportunity to be forward looking as we replace the old with the new. The new includes a mix of different low carbon generation plant but also a challenge of how to operate our networks and consumption with greater flexibility and efficiency.
But how do we decarbonise the transport and heat sectors?
Fortunately, new technologies are coming to the fore, including storage, smarter local networks and innovation in how vehicles can be powered. Much of the decarbonisation effort involves a shift from hydrocarbons to electricity, meaning future electricity demand will increase, requiring more generation capacity.
Assuming electrically powered cars can displace petrol and diesel cars on mass, transport fuel costs to the consumer will reduce but replacing gas heating with electricity will cost more. And a larger electricity network means more overhead lines and land areas used for generation with the associated impacts on landscape and the environment. Do we really need to replace our central heating infrastructure and how do we provide the large amounts of energy required by industry at a cost that is competitive in global terms and leads to new job creation? And where do robots fit in?
Many questions which need to be explored. This webinar sets the challenge….
This Webinar is being delivered by Peter Kydd, Technical Director WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff.
Peter is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers with over 35 years' experience gained with WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff and its predecessor firms. He retired as Director of Strategic Consulting in 2015 but continues to be engaged in providing advice on strategic infrastructure in the energy and transport sectors. He is also chair of the South West Marine Energy Park and a member of Bristol Green Capital's Marine Accelerator Programme Board.