Energy Options for Transport

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The transport sector accounts for c.30% of the UK’s final energy consumption and c.25% of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  The transport sector also faces other challenges that can affect energy demand and GHG emissions, including: increasing demand, changing behaviour and trends, affordability, air quality, safety, capacity and reliability.  Decarbonisation strategies will have to consider these factors, and the impacts upon the wider energy sector; similarly, the energy sector will impact upon these transport decarbonisation strategies, including through competition for low-carbon energy sources.

The purpose of this work is to consider the trade-offs between different factors in the transport sector, and interactions with the energy sector, to determine the implications for energy demand and GHG emissions.

  • The Annex provides a high level examination of the options for powering each mode of transport, and identifies the most promising options.
  • The Main Report considers the steps required to deploy each energy option, and the implications of each energy option in particular the interactions with the wider energy sector.  The report identifies short-term steps (e.g. research topics and the development of cross-cutting policy) that could be needed for longer-term delivery of required GHG emissions reductions.

The report was launched on 21st April 2016 – see here for more information about the launch event.

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The report’s conclusions are summarised as follows:

Transport decarbonisation must take account of strategic considerations, including:

  • Wider context of decarbonising other sectors, including use of limited energy sources that have alternative uses;
  • Energy consumption, including impacts upon energy supply chains, network operation, and UK primary energy demand;
  • Weighing up the effort required to deploy an energy option (including infrastructure and costs) and its likely performance (including GHG emissions, co-benefits and embedded impacts).

To facilitate deployment of energy options and to manage their implications, actions are required; these are grouped in the report under the following headings:

  • Research is required to improve energy options;
  • Regulations and incentives are required to drive uptake of options and delivery of their benefits;
  • Strategic infrastructure decisions are needed to facilitate energy options.


Follow-up activities

The ERP analysis team is working with a range of stakeholders to address the report’s conclusions.


Steering Group

Steering Group Chair:

  • Neville Jackson, Ricardo

Steering Group Members:

  • John Miles, Arup
  • Rachel Squire, Shell
  • Tom Delay, Carbon Trust
  • Andrew Benfield, Energy Saving Trust
  • Rob Wakely, DfT
  • Ian Llewellyn, DECC
  • Rupert Wilmouth, GO-Science 

Further Information

For more information about the project, please contact Dr Simon Cran-McGreehin from the ERP Analysis Team.  We would like to thank Tom Watson for his work on the project’s first phase (review of options – see Annex) whilst on secondment from the Policy Studies Institute (PSI).

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