Britain could meet its 78% emissions reduction target by 2035.
That’s according to two out of the four new National Grid ESO’s Future Energy Scenarios (FES).
The electricity system operator’s modelling also suggests that the country is on track to reach net zero by 2050 or earlier, based on the analysis of three scenarios.
In addition, all FES predict that the power sector’s carbon dioxide emissions will become negative by 2034.
The authors of the report suggest there would be almost no unabated natural gas generation from 2035 and highlight the role of hydrogen in achieving net zero.
National Grid ESO also stresses that consumer behaviour change and policy clarity in measures such as energy efficiency and residential heating are pivotal to achieving net zero.
In the most ambitious decarbonisation scenario, consumers in 2050 are turning down their thermostats by an average of 1°C, reducing heat demand by 13%.
According to this scenario, more than 80% of households are also smart charging their electric vehicles.
Two scenarios of the National Grid ESO’s modelling agree that the UK would see 600,000 heat pump installations every year with up to 2.6 million installed by 2025 and more than 25 million by 2050.
Matthew Wright, head of strategy and regulation at National Grid ESO, said: “Our latest Future Energy Scenarios insight reveals a glimpse of a Britain that is powered with net zero carbon emissions, but it also highlights the level of societal change and policy direction that will be needed to get there.
“If Britain is to meet its ambitious emissions reduction targets, consumers will need a greater understanding of how their power use and lifestyle choices impact how sustainable our energy system will be – from how we heat our homes, to when we charge our future cars – and government policy will be key to driving awareness and change.
“Britain is making significant progress towards achieving net zero. The fundamental changes outlined in our latest FES insight show just how important a coordinated approach will be between policymakers and industry if we’re to capitalise on that momentum.”