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The UK 2050 Calculator
Examples
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Calculating
Domestic transport behaviour ? 1 2 3 4
Shift to zero emission transport ? 1 2 3 4
Choice of zero-emission technology ? A B C D
Domestic freight ? 1 2 3 4
International aviation ? 1 2 3 4
International shipping ? 1 2 3 4
Average temperature of homes ? 1 2 3 4
Home insulation ? 1 2 3 4
Home heating electrification ? A B C D
Home heating that isn't electric ? A B C D
Home lighting & appliances ? 1 2 3 4
Electrification of home cooking ? A B
Growth in industry ? A B C
Energy intensity of industry ? 1 2 3
Commercial demand for heating and cooling ? 1 2 3 4
Commercial heating electrification ? A B C D
Commercial heating that isn't electric ? A B C D
Commercial lighting & appliances ? 1 2 3 4
Electrification of commercial cooking ? A B
Nuclear power stations ? 1 2 3 4
CCS power stations ? 1 2 3 4
Choice of CCS power station fuel ? A B C D
Offshore wind ? 1 2 3 4
Onshore wind ? 1 2 3 4
Wave ? 1 2 3 4
Tidal Stream ? 1 2 3 4
Tidal Range ? 1 2 3 4
Biomass power stations ? 1 2 3 4
Solar panels for electricity ? 1 2 3 4
Solar panels for hot water ? 1 2 3 4
Geothermal electricity ? 1 2 3 4
Hydroelectric power stations ? 1 2 3 4
Small-scale wind ? 1 2 3 4
Electricity imports ? 1 2 3 4
Land dedicated to bioenergy ? 1 2 3 4
Livestock and their management ? 1 2 3 4
Volume of waste and recycling ? A B C D
Marine algae ? 1 2 3 4
Type of fuels from biomass ? A B C D
Bioenergy imports ? 1 2 3 4
Geosequestration ? 1 2 3 4
Storage, demand shifting & interconnection ? 1 2 3 4

Notes

?
Question marks take you to one page descriptions of each choice
1
The least effort possible on this choice.
2
Viewed as ambitious, but reasonable by most experts.
3
Viewed as unlikely without significant change from the current system and/or significant technological breakthroughs
4
The upper end of what is thought to be physically plausible by the most optimistic observer.
A
D
A range of options where one alternative is not neccesiarily harder than another
Total used in the UK1Primary energy supply is normally higher than final energy demand, because of the energy used to generate electricity.
Targets2The targets up to 2027 exclude international aviation and shipping. They are also calculated as five year 'budgets', rather than the single year targets shown here.
Total3The total includes the reduction in emissions from carbon capture and storage and from growing new biomass to replace that used (the bioenergy credit).
We would like your help to develop this tool. Please click here to find out more about our methodology and suggest improvements. Before viewing the cost implications of your choices, please note that:
  1. The Calculator expresses pathway costs as 'average pounds per person per year'. This is not the same as your energy bill. It is the cost of everything the UK buys that makes, converts, saves or uses energy: from kettles and insulation foam to trains and power stations. You can choose to see the results in different units when using the excel version of the Calculator.
  2. The Calculator does not choose any options automatically, regardless of their cost.
  3. The Calculator uses forecasts from credible sources of how technology and fuel costs might rise or fall over time. You vary these forecasts using the cost sensitivity implication from the menu on the top left. The full set of data points is available on the wiki.
  4. The cost of not tackling climate change is not included in the Calculator. The Stern review estimated that failing to tackle climate change could reduce global GDP by up to 20%. This is the equivalent of up to £6,500 per person per year on average, on top of the cost of the energy system.
  5. Some other important effects have been excluded from the Calculator. The costs of travelling less or with different modes of transport, having colder homes or fewer goods, and changing the appearance of our houses or landscape are not included. Nor are profits, taxes, subsidies or economies of scale driven by pathway choices. The Calculator includes only the physical costs of constructing, operating and fuelling equipment.
  6. Costs are just one feature for comparing 2050 pathways. The Calculator provides information on other impacts, as well as some illustrative pathways to compare your choices with.

The impact of your pathway on air quality

The damage to human health arising from air pollution from this pathway, principally particulate matter, could be around in 2050 compared to 2010. Given the scope for adverse implications for air quality, if the UK were to adopt this pathway the Government would develop a policy framweork that supported the innovation required to be at the bottom end of the range

How to interpret these results:

  • Air pollution health impact index — this index measures the effect on human health from fine particulate matter and other air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides. For example, these pollutants have been linked to premature death caused by heart and lung disease. 2010 is the baseline year (100). A number lower than 100 indicates a reduction in average air pollution and associated health impacts, whilst a higher number indicates an increase. This index reflects changes in the average concentration of air pollutants across the UK. It does not provide information on the number or severity of pollution hotspots.
  • High end of hatched range — worst case scenario for air pollution whereby there is no further deployment or innovation in pollution abatement technology between now and 2050 beyond planned measures.
  • Low end of hatched range — best case scenario whereby innovation radically improves pollution abatement technology between now and 2050 and it is fully deployed.

We would welcome your feedback on the methodology used to calculate the impact of your pathway on air quality. You can also download the excel version of the 2050 pathways calcualtor to see the different types of air pollution and the relative importance of different sources.

Balancing electricity supply and demand

GW of conventional gas electricity generation plant has been assumed to have been built by 2050, to cover the gap between average electricity demand and the amount of low carbon generation selected in this pathway.

This tool does not model the hourly, daily or even seasonal operation of the electricity grid. It presents annual averages. Therefore it does not correctly represent the peaks and troughs of electricity demand.

To go some way to addressing this flaw, the tool applies a simulated stress test to your pathway of five cold, almost windless, days. This is described in more detail here. In this case, the stress test implies that GW of additional peaking plant may be required for supply to meet demand over that period.

You can influence the amount of peaking plant by changing your choice level of 'storage, demand shifting & interconnection' below right,or by reducing the amount of intermittent renewable generation, or by reducing the demand for electricity

Dependence on imported energy

The calculator assumes that any available biomass is preferred over fossil fuels and that domestically produced fuels are preferred over imports.It assumes that fossil fuels are imported to cover any shortfall.

20072050
ImportsTWh/yr%TWh/yr%

Diversity of energy sources

There may be a benefit from maintaining a diversity of energy sources:

Proportion of energy supply20072050