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Carbon pollution from the UK power grid could turn negative by 2033, says National Grid

Operator suggests the Government should leverage carbon capture and clean energy to help achieve British priorities.

Carbon pollution from Britain’s power grid might turn negative as early as 2033 because, according to a National Grid survey, the UK is utilizing carbon capture technologies and more clean energy to achieve its environment goals.

The power network regulator laid out his dream for a “emission negative” system that will feature 30m hybrid cars on British highways, and 8m heat pumps used to supplement gas boilers in energy-efficient households.

In National Grid’s most ambitious view of Britain’s road to its 2050 climate goals, it states that the power sector ‘s net carbon emissions could turn negative within 13 years, utilizing carbon capture technologies alongside bioenergy sources.

Mark Herring, Head of Planning at National Grid ESO, said three of the four most reliable routes of the study to a net-zero economy by 2050 meant heavily dependent on low-carbon energy.

Global Grid plans a increase in green energy developments, including at least 3GW of additional wind power production and 1.4GW of solar generation per year from now until 2050, in addition to a rapid roll-out of electric cars, which would essentially serve as smart-charging “batteries” to further stabilize the system. This also plans a shift in the usage of electrical products, including significantly increased products quality and the end of gas boilers. Then, millions of households can use fewer than one-third of the electricity they use now, depending on power pumps fitted with electric storage.

“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 said.

“Although these are not firm predictions, we’ve talked to over 600 industry experts to build this insight and it’s clear while net zero is achievable, there are significant changes ahead,” he added.

The study cautioned that the United Kingdom would not achieve its legally binding commitment to cut carbon pollution to net zero by 2050 without policy “immediate action” on core energy initiatives, including the negative bioenergy pollution coupled with carbon capture and storage.
Some find bioenergy to be carbon neutral as the pollution generated by burning wood pellets in a power plant are balanced by the carbon dioxide captured by sustainably maintained forests as the trees grow.

Nonetheless, several scholars and activists challenge the “carbon accounting.”
National Grid claims that using carbon capture to contain bioenergy power plant pollution will potentially avoid 62 m tons of carbon dioxide by 2050, which is equal to around 13% of the overall greenhouse gas output from the UK in 2019. Carbon capture is now projected to play a significant role in extracting carbon pollution from North Sea coal to generate renewable hydrogen for mines, steel plants and power stations in Britain.

According to National Grid, that will mean that by 2035 the volume of gas used to produce energy without carbon control technologies will halve.
Herring said it was too early to assess the effect of the coronavirus outbreak on Britain ‘s electricity prospects, although others are hoping the pandemic will accelerate the UK’s environment goals by leveraging policy funding programs for renewable energies and energy saving initiatives to stimulate a green economic recovery.

“While Covid-19 came too late to be factored into this year’s analysis many of the areas highlighted will be crucial in a green recovery from the pandemic, particularly improving energy efficiency across all sectors and significant investment in low carbon electricity generation,” he said.

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