High Electrification 2050

  • Northern Ireland 2050
  • Last updated
  • Open scenario

Energy Strategy for Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland has created ETM scenarios to explore policy options for their new Energy Strategy. The body responsible for advising the UK and devolved governments on climate change – the Climate Change Committee (CCC) – has advised that Northern Ireland’s contribution is an 82% reduction in all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The CCC has advised that an 82% reduction in total greenhouse gas emissions is consistent with net zero carbon in Northern Ireland. As almost all (96%) of energy-related emissions are carbon, the focus in the Energy Strategy is to achieve net zero carbon-energy by 2050.

On 31 March 2021 Minister Diane Dodds has launched the Policy Options Consultation Paper for the new Energy Strategy. For more information on this consultation have a look on the website of the Department for the Economy of Northern Ireland. On this page you can also find a detailed report presenting the assumptions behind their scenarios. This report describes different plausible energy system transition pathways for NI to achieve net zero carbon-energy by 2050. This report analyses the development of the NI energy system across four scenarios:

  1. Business as Usual
  2. High Electrification
  3. High Gasification
  4. Diverse

High Electrification

This scenario builds on the existing success of the renewable electricity sector, with high levels of electrification to take advantage of a substantially larger renewable electricity base. Increased capacity is met through a combination of solar Photovoltaic (PV), offshore wind and marine technology and an expansion of onshore wind aligned with improved demand-side management and flexibility measures.

Heat pumps provide the majority of heat supplied in the domestic and services sector, and very high levels of energy efficiency are adopted. The existing gas network is not expanded and plays a small role to supplement heat pumps through decarbonised gas, including locally-produced biomethane and hydrogen. A combination of a ban on new petrol and diesel cars coupled with a charging infrastructure roll-out programme via public charging and new home standards drive a significant uptake in electric vehicles.

Key assumptions are:

  • Home heating, transport and industry largely electrified
  • Electricity demand is highest in this scenario
  • RES-E target 70% in 2030 achieved, 100% in 2050
  • Lowest final energy demand through:
    • Substantial increase in energy efficiency measures early in the pathway to 2050 due to requirements for heat pumps;
    • Reduction in industry energy demand through efficiency measures;
    • Increase in public transport usage, walking, wheeling and cycling; and
    • Some reduction in energy consumption due to increased awareness and behavioural change amongst the population.

Further details on the sources of all data items utilised to build the base year for 2018 are available at the ETM Library.