The right mix

Kirsty Schneeberger | 13 years ago

In case you didn’t already know, there is a team in the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) whose work revolves around 2050. Or more specifically, the work revolves arounddetermining the various pathways that will lead us to a clean, safe and energy healthy 2050. As such, the entire team integrates long-term thinking into its daily operations; in working out the energy mix that will set the UK on target to achieve its legally binding commitment of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. When the team isn’t number crunching it is also developing exciting ways to try and make its pathways work relevant to the wider public – after all it is the public that will play such a huge role in setting the country on the path and sticking to it.

Enter some neat online tools.

For the super nerd
Firstly, there is the really nerdy spreadsheet of equations that anyone can have a look at to see all the data behind the pathways.  Warning: this is not for the feint hearted.  It is a detailed mixture of rows and columns made up of super nerdy figures, but if you are a super nerd, then this is your thing.

For the slightly-less-nerdy-but –still-talks about-the energy-mix-a-bit-too-much-at-dinner-parties
The tool for you is the pathways calculator. This allows you to have a go at developing your own pathway (for both the supply and demand side of the energy mix – I know, super exciting right?) This calculator takes the super-nerdy (see above) data and turns it into a neat graph that can be easily processed at a glance. It also helps the user to think carefully about the trade-offs that have to be made when making decisions about the energy mix and the energy efficiencies that can be made.

For the average member of the public interested to learn a bit more about all this
For this punter there is a very, very cool game – the My2050 online simulator – that turns all of the above into cool graphics and is very user friendly. This was launched by the DECC 2050 team in 2010, and the DECC Youth Panel were very involved in developing the game. Over the past year this site has received thousands upon thousands of hits and there was even a report compiled of the stats relating to the energy pathways that people were submitting.

And drumroll please…

The schools toolkit
This is an absolutely brilliant tool that school teachers will be able to use in the classrooms to generate debate about the UK energy mix – and crucially – why it is so very important for young people to understand more about putting the mix together. I think this is one of my favourites and I am really looking forward to finding out more about how it is being used in schools all over the country.

Great work DECC 2050 team!

About the author

Kirsty Schneeberger

Kirsty is an environmental advocate and campaigner. She is Climate Change Manager at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. Her interest includes climate change and the environmental inheritance we leave to future generations.