The UK 2050 Calculator Web Flash Excel Wiki
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Does the National Grid's pathway make no provision for district heating and how does energy supply from coal and biomass interact?

The National Grid’s example pathway to 2050 combines a set of choices that results in no heating for homes or commercial properties being supplied by district heating. As a background, the level of district heating to provide heat to domestic and commercial properties up to 2050 is determined by the user as follows:

  1. Domestic heating:
  • the user selects the level of electrification of domestic heating up to 2050, by using the “home heating electrification” lever (National Grid have selected level 4, the highest electrification); and
  • the user selects the level of district heating for homes that are not electrified by 2050, by using the “home heating that isn’t electric” lever (National Grid have selected level A, where gas or gas CHP are the dominant non-electric sources).
  1. Commercial heating:
  • the user selects the level of electrification of commercial heating up to 2050, by using the “commercial heating electrification” lever (National Grid have selected level 4, the highest electrification); and
  • the user selects the level of district heating for commercial properties that are not electrified up to 2050, by using the “commercial heating that isn’t electric” lever (National Grid have selected level D, which uses a mixture of non-electric sources).

The “UK Primary Energy Supply” chart in the 2050 Calculator Webtool shows the energy supplied from the available primary energy sources in the Calculator: the “coal” line shows the energy derived from coal; the “bioenergy” line shows energy derived from biomass. However, choices on solid biomass have an impact on coal use and this will be visible in the chart. This is because energy demand is always met in the 2050 Calculator, and if insufficient biomass is provided the corresponding fossil fuel is used. For example, if the user selects a higher level of biomass power plant deployment, then coal use will increase if there is insufficient solid biomass in the user’s pathway to satisfy the solid hydrocarbon demand.

A detailed breakdown of the energy supplied from the different sources is provided in the spreadsheet in the “Intermediate output” worksheet, rows 23 to 47. The spreadsheet can be accessed at the link in paragraph 6.