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Energy 2050



Edited by Jim Skea, Paul Ekins and Mark Winksel


The United Kingdom is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050, a target that will only be achieved by transforming the way that energy is supplied and used. At the same time, there are anxieties about the security of energy provision in terms of European dependency on natural gas and the reliability of electricity supply. This book explores in detail those factors which could help or hinder the attainment of the UK's climate change targets, and how these factors interact with the parallel objective of maintaining a robust and secure energy system.

The book is the result of a major national energy research effort by the UK Energy Research Centre, which includes some of the UK's leading energy experts. The results and recommendations are essential reading for policymakers, professionals, researchers, and anyone concerned with achieving large-scale reductions in carbon emissions, both from the UK and internationally.

The book begins by exploring the evolution of the UK energy system over recent decades: the trends, technologies and environmental impacts related to energy use, and the structures and institutions of governance that have influenced this evolution. It then moves on to changes in energy policy to emphasise decarbonisation and resilience, and introduce the approach to scenarios and modelling used in the rest of the book. Later chapters explore different aspects of the uncertainties that may enable or constrain the creation of a low-carbon, resilient UK energy system, related to accelerated technology development, the creation of an infrastructure to support de-centralised energy and microgeneration, to lifestyle and behaviour change, and to public attitudes to wider environmental impacts associated with energy system change.


"This book neither offers nor advocates a single pathway to 2050 – by explaining the factors that will shape our future UK energy system and the interaction between them, it invites an informed assessment of our options and should enable better decision making in the face of uncertainty."—Tom Delay, CEO, Carbon Trust.

"The issues tackled in are crucial for the UK and other countries to address and I welcome this publication as an important contribution to the energy security and climate change debate. The collaborative approach taken by UKERC has brought together researchers from a range of disciplines and with different perspectives to try and answer some of the key energy policy issues facing the UK."—Nobuo Tanaka, executive director, International Energy Agency.


Jim Skea is Professor of Sustainable Energy at Imperial College London and research director of the Energy Research Centre. His research interests are in energy, climate change and technological innovation. Jim is a founding member of the UK's Committee on Climate Change and a vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group III (climate change mitigation).

Paul Ekins has a PhD in economics from the University of London and is a co-director of the UK Energy Research Centre, heading its Energy Systems theme. He is Professor of Energy and Environment Policy at the UCL Energy Institute, University College London. His academic work focuses on the conditions and policies for achieving an environmentally sustainable economy, with a special focus on energy technologies and policy, innovation, the role of economic instruments, sustainability assessment and environment and trade.

Mark Winskel is research co-ordinator of the UK Energy Research Centre, and senior research fellow in the Institute for Energy Systems, University of Edinburgh. He has held a number of research grant awards on innovation in energy systems. He has an interdisciplinary education across the natural, environmental and social sciences, and his PhD addressed technological change in the UK power supply sector.

To purchase this book, please contact us.


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