Consumer View introduction

The contribution of consumers to net zero, in terms of their behaviour and lifestyle choices, is crucial to meeting the legally binding target by 2050.

The scale of change impacting consumers over the next three decades will be far reaching. It is very hard to imagine how the future world of energy will impact our lives compared with today, from new heating systems, cars, and appliances, to new technologies providing clean fuels for homes and businesses.

However, one big question remains: how far are consumers prepared to change their behaviours and lifestyles to support the transition to net zero emissions?

To reflect this uncertainty, we have retained the ‘level of societal change’ axis on our scenario framework this year. This chapter considers the end consumption of energy from three different perspectives.

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Residential

Changes to all homes are needed to enable decarbonisation in the residential sector. These include the way we build our homes, through to the way we use energy in them.

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Transport

This includes cars, vans, buses and HGVs, which mainly use fossil fuels for internal combustion engines (ICE). We also consider the impact of rail, aviation and shipping in achieving net zero emissions.

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Industrial and Commercial

Typically use large amounts of energy. Due to their heavy reliance on fossil fuels, these industries - which are vital to the UK’s national and regional economies - represent some of the most challenging areas to fully decarbonise by 2050.

An evolving consumer

To achieve net zero, consumers need to be fully engaged with both what needs to change and when - as well as why. The emissions reductions that we’ve seen so far have sometimes happened in the background, without us realising, such as improvements to the energy efficiency of white goods.

Future change will be driven by a range of factors, from government policy that bans or discourages high-carbon activity to new innovative technologies and business models like ‘energy as a service’ or ride-hailing apps for autonomous vehicle (AV) taxis. This will be against the backdrop of changing generations, with today’s environmentally-aware children leading the charge against climate change over the next three decades

While FES looks at the the future of energy over the next 29 years across Great Britain (GB), the drivers to encourage the necessary consumer changes cannot be one-size-fits-all and everyone must be well informed and engaged. To find out more about Regional FES, see our RIIO2 Business Plan.

A full, detailed version of this section can be found in the 2021 FES document:

FES 2021 interactive document

FES 2021 print ready document