Propose how, using renewable energy technology, the UK might realistically move to a ‘zero carbon’ economy by 2040.
i) Firstly, determine the current UK non-renewable energy consumption (e.g. gas, oil, coal) used for industrial and domestic heating and transport and some of our electrical generation and their carbon emissions.
ii) Secondly, determine the current UK renewable and low-carbon energy production. (By the ‘UK’ is meant England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and the UK’s coastal waters including the Channel Isles and Isle of Man). The difference between i) and ii) is what needs to be currently replaced by additional renewable energy and/or by changes in life style and implementation of any new advances in technology that might reduce carbon emissions. However, agriculture is also a major producer of CO2 and CH4, so some additional capacity/carbon capture for offsetting these emissions is also needed. Air transport emission are another area of concern which you may like to mention. Your main task is then to decide how and what additional renewable energy technology can be deployed realistically throughout the UK in order to achieve the zero-C goal. Different areas of the UK will suit particular renewable energy technologies. Consider, for example, wind, solar and, where appropriate, bio, hydro and tidal energy. You may include some new nuclear power, but bear in mind its long build time and contentious safety issues may preclude significant use. You also need to estimate how much renewable energy these technologies could produce. Just describing where they might be deployed will limit your marks. Some technologies can be deployed in the same area to reduce land-take (e.g. bio or solar might be possible under wind turbines). Do not forget the urban environment, which is also suitable for some renewable energy generation technologies. Be careful when discussing transport because, for example, moving vehicles off fossil fuel derived energy onto battery power means that more renewable electricity needs to be generated for charging purposes. Structure: Your essay will draw upon reliable academic, governmental and specialist technological sources which will be appropriately referenced and cited, and include diagrams, figures, calculations etc. as appropriate. Avoid too much generic material. Assume the reader is acquainted with renewable energy technology. It will contain a brief introduction and conclusion and other sectional headings to guide the reader.