Offshore wind capacity in the UK could hit 43GW by 2050, up from 6GW last year, according to a new report from the National Grid.

The 'Future Energy Scenarios 2018' report released today outlines four possible paths up to 2050 based on the speed of decarbonisation and level of decentralisation of energy in the UK.

Offshore wind together with storage, interconnectors and new nuclear are key to the 'Two Degrees' scenario, while solar and onshore wind would be boosted under the 'Community Renewables' scenario.

Both Two Degrees and Community Renewables scenarios meet UK 2050 carbon reduction targets, National Grid said.

Solar could reach 66GW by mid-century under the Community Renewables projection, it added.

Under all scenarios, energy storage will play an increasingly important role as National Grid anticipates times post-2030 when there will be excess electricity.

Interconnectors linked to other electricity markets could also provide an outlet for excess power generation.

“Market development, new technologies and new ways of designing and operating networks will be needed to address the operational challenges that arise,” National Grid said. 

Storage capacity could be as high as 10GW by 2050, under the Two Degrees and Community Renewables scenarios, with the lowest projection 6GW under the Steady Progression scenario.

Overall, low carbon and renewable capacity is projected to be between 70GW and 100GW by 2050, according to the National Grid report. Scenarios for total installed capacity range between 131GW and 161GW. 

The speed of decarbonisation will be driven by policy, economics and consumer attitudes, the report added.

Greenpeace chief scientist Doug Parr said: “These scenarios clearly demonstrate how government policy is central to the speed of decarbonisation and public adoption of cleaner technologies.”     

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