Thursday, July 29, 2010

2050 Calculator Tool at DECC

I'm delighted to report that the Department of Energy and Climate Change has published the 2050 Pathways Analysis, which illustrates six possible energy pathways to achieve secure and affordable energy supplies in the UK while still hitting the 2050 target of reducing emissions by 80 per cent on 1990 levels.
These pathways were constructed with the engineering-based 2050 Calculator, which is now available as an online tool, and as a monster-spreadsheet that you can download, play with, and improve.
The Department is encouraging people to enhance this open-source tool, ideally before October 2010, so that it can in due course be used to engage civil servants, politicians, and the general public in 'grown-up' conversations, as Chris Huhne puts it.
The tool allows the user to explore the consequences - in terms of security-of-supply indicators and greenhouse gas emissions - of any combination of demand-side choices and supply-side choices. The intention of this 'play Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change' approach is not to imply that the energy system could or should be centrally planned, but to help people understand the range of possibilities that are open to us; the trade-offs; the common themes shared by energy pathways that add up; and the scale of action required.
Here's one journalist's reaction to the tool [Independent]. And the Guardian. To understand what's going on behind the simplified front-end, please read the 2050 document and dive into the monster spreadsheet.
I'd like to praise James Geddes and Tom Counsell for their outstanding work in producing this tool, along with Jonathan Brearley, Graeme Cuthbert, Jan Kiso, Katherine Randall, Clare Maltby, and the whole 2050 team at DECC.