MY HOT TAKE: Plan for the UK to not be net-zero by 2050, due to our failure to invest in infrastructure.
The United Kingdom has an ambitious vision to be a net-zero nation by 2050 – with some cities such as Edinburgh and Glasgow promising to be ahead of this.
We are starting to see a change in electricity generation. If you take Scotland as an isolated case, some days 100% of Scotland’s electricity is green. Furthermore, renewable energy sources will become cheaper than existing coal and gas solutions in most regions by 2030, and renewable generation is projected to account for more than 50% of total global power generation post-2035. We are seeing a narrative play out amongst experts that a transition revolution is coming. Thankfully so, as without a change, we will not succeed in our climate commitments.
However, I see that future oil demand in the UK is actually in rude health.
If you start to dive deeper into the ambitious actions for energy transition, you see that much of the investment is in the technology and the platform to create the change rather than the infrastructure required to make it work. Our towns and cities, our homes and offices will remain heated by gas, and transport, still heavily reliant on fossil fuels. Why? Because we have a network, storage, and infrastructure to make it happen.
The UK is making all the right statements, and the energy industry is pushing for change. However, without real government investment in infrastructure and networks, the transition to net-zero will be an evolution, and not the revolution many have come to expect. Adding to this, when you consider that 90% of every item humanity consumes derives from oil in its manufacturing process (including pharmaceuticals, tech, and manufacturing). We realise we are some way from inventing an oil substitute that replicates the multi-faceted uses that oil can be utilised in.
Simply, oil may be king for a very long time to come.