Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Version 2 of the 2050 Calculator

On Thursday 3rd March, DECC is going to be publishing version 2 of the 2050 Pathways Calculator, along with an updated version of the calculator that runs in your browser - now including energy flow diagrams and maps showing land areas and sea areas.
We're also publishing a simplified "My2050 simulator", aimed at engaging a wider audience in this open-source conversation about energy policy.
To celebrate these publications, I'll be on a live Guardian blog on Thursday 3rd March at lunchtime.


Domination said...

I looked at the 2050 calculator. I can easily get below 20% if I basically wipe out the economy and return us to the stone age. Where is the cost associated with each change. You cannot let people choose scenarios without explaining the costs in terms of taxation and reduced economic growth. Otherwise it is just propaganda.

Luke_UK said...

Many thanks to you and your team at DECC for the updated calculator. The additional charts and 'story' tab should help to clarify what is going on and further inform the debate. Unfortunately, there is a serious omission from the new version compared with the old. What happened to the difficulty score? Without that, all possible pathways are made equal, but they are not. On the old version of the tool, setting up your 'economic' plan from the book, lots of nuclear some onshore wind and electrify everything in sight, clearly gave lower emissions at lower difficulty than other strategies. Plans like the Friends-of-the-Earth plan in the new calculator had very high difficulty scores in the old one, but now the old calculator is gone I can't prove it!

I would also query the makeup of the expert panel. F.O.E. or some other large environmental NGO need to be on it, but where is the couterbalancing representative from the CBI? Practical plans have to consider costs, and there is no sign of economic analysis in the model at the moment.


Christoffer Willenfort said...

This is one of the most interesting simmulators i have seen. I wonder if it is hardcoded for GB or if it is posible to feed it data from other countries and use it more generaly ?

Andy Cooke said...

I like this new calculator - a very good illustration of the need to make the sums add up, and the great difficulty in employing certain well supported techniques.

For Luke_UK - I rather assumed that the colours of the tags related to the difficulty: red being very difficult/requiring very large effotr; amber being difficult/requiring significant effort; yellow being moderate/requiring some effort; green being easy/no-or-minimal effort.

Although I agree that an overall difficulty result would be very useful.

For Domination, I found that I could drop us 70% and still have the UK industry double with extended personal travel and cars/vans being 80% of user mileage. The "reds" I needed were to electrify the transport network and assume lighting/appliance energy demand dropping 60% (eg OLED lighting and TV screens, smart systems, etc - all of which I see as achievable). Power generation was never harder than yellow except for building 30 nukes.

Admittedly the next 10% will be more difficult, but dropping

jte said...

If I understand the assumptions behind the calculator correctly, I think there is one point that could use some improved assuming: the greenhouse gas impact of expanding hydro. See

Making no other changes except to click "4" on the hydroelectric power stations question on the calculator results in a small reduction in predicted GHG emissions. If the research described in the article linked above is correct -- and applicable to the possible hydro development in the UK -- then in the time scale of now to 2050, the predicted GHG impact instead should be positive. A lot of "ifs" I know!