The easy-to-follow guide, produced by energy system researchers at the University of Strathclyde on behalf of the IET, is intended to help the public, policymakers and anyone invested in transitioning to a low-carbon future, understand the options and technologies available.
Simon Edwards, Director of Governance and External Engagement at the IET, said: “The transition to Net Zero will rely on people and technology. It is vital that everyone has a good understanding of how technology can make that happen, what the options are and how they work.
“Technology enables us to dramatically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels by changing where our energy comes from and how we use it. However, there is a wide range of technologies that might be used, and big decisions on the energy transition from policymakers are still to come.
This guide is intended to give the key facts, so everyone can become more informed about the decisions they make, as well as the pathways the UK Government and industry may take, to reach a low carbon future.”
The guide also gives a unique comparative analysis of a set of seven net-zero pathways to uncover what our decarbonised energy system – both supply and demand – in 2050 is likely to look like.
Dr James Dixon, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Strathclyde and lead author of the guide, said: “All paths to Net Zero rely on substantial changes in technology and the way we use energy. More optimism in what technology can achieve and how cheaply it can do it reduces – but never eliminates – the need to change how we do things.
On the other hand, the more we can bring down our energy demand, the less we are dependent on technological innovation. In other words, it de-risks the transition.”
The A-Z guide covers every main Net Zero energy technology from how energy can be produced from sustainable and renewable sources, how it can be used via low-carbon travel choices, and how homes are heated.
Keith Bell, Professor of energy systems at University of Strathclyde and co-author, added: “The fantastic reductions in the cost of energy from electricity produced from wind and solar and the efficiencies of things like electric vehicles and heat pumps mean that much greater reliance on renewables in future makes a huge amount of sense.
However, it also raises challenges around the variability of wind and solar and the need for energy storage and flexibility of demand.
“The Government’s Net Zero Strategy, launched this week, shows there is still a lot of work to do across many sectors. However, it’s a welcome statement of intent and it’s good to see acknowledgements of the importance of things like long-term energy storage and action on heating in buildings.
“Whilst it is clear these technologies are fundamental, there is still an active part society at large needs to play in making low-carbon choices in our everyday lives. If people, policymakers and businesses understand the various options and why they’re needed, we will get greater support for a fast and fair transition to Net Zero.”
The IET’s Energy technologies for net zero guide is available for download.