Britain could rely entirely on wind and solar power to meet its energy demands by 2050.
That’s one of the findings of new research by Oxford University’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, which suggests wind and solar resources in the UK can generate significantly more energy than anticipated for 2050, nearly ten times the current electricity demand, with up to 2,896TWh annually compared to a forecasted demand of 1,500TWh.
The report predicts that offshore wind will contribute the majority of energy, around 73%, with onshore wind providing approximately 7% while occupying just 0.07% of the country’s land.
In comparison, mining and quarrying use 0.9% of English land.
Utility-scale solar power accounts for 19%, while rooftop solar covers 8% of Britain’s roof area.
The authors acknowledge the need for substantial grid upgrades and energy storage scaling to accommodate this level of renewable energy.
Dr Brian O’Callaghan, the lead author of the report, emphasised that this is a matter of ambition rather than technical feasibility.
Dr O’Callaghan argues that the UK should accelerate its renewable energy efforts, using US-style incentives and enhancing its grid infrastructure to keep pace with the global green race.