Future Energy Scenarios Point to High Uptake of Electric Cars

           Carbon and Climate

The National Grid has published its Future Energy Scenarios (FES) 2017, which lays out a set of credible pathways for the future of energy out to 2050. As well as being used by the grid operator in its network and operations planning, it is used across the industry as an aid to decision-making. The report considers four different scenarios: Two Degrees, Slow Progression, Steady State, and Consumer Power. These are not forecasts but are intended to highlight the challenges and opportunities that different trends will raise. In his introduction to the FES report, Marcus Stewart, Head of Energy Insights, said, “We are in the midst of an energy revolution. The economic landscape, developments in technology, evolving business models and consumer behaviour are changing at an unprecedented rate, creating more opportunities than ever for our industry”. Some key messages that can be taken from the study are:

  • High levels of distributed and renewable generation are currently in place. This is a trend that is set to continue and will increase the complexity of the system due to both intermittency and increased levels of generation at the point of consumption. Distributed generation has the potential to increase by 67GW by 2050 and reach a total of 93GW.
  • There could be 6GW of electricity storage in place by 2020, compared to the existing 4GW in 2016.
  • Electricity demand has the potential to increase significantly due to an increase in electric cars, with most scenarios seeing electric vehicles making up 90% of car sales by 2050. It is possible that nine million electric vehicles will be in use by 2030 and, without consumer engagement to manage car charging patterns and sharing of vehicles, peak demand in 2030 could be 8GW higher than it is today.
  • Gas continues to play an important role for both heat and electricity generation as it is flexible, reliable, and cost-effective. However, the current balance is shifting, and the rate of this change will be governed by the extent of the green agenda.

FES is published every year and has the input of stakeholders across the industry. A useful summary, FES in 5, includes electricity and gas supply overviews, together with key capacity and demand statistics under different scenarios.

Nikki Wilson

Nikki joined Alfa Energy in September 2015 as a Carbon Management Consultant where she advises clients on legislation, compliance, and the implementation of carbon management schemes. She is a Practitioner member of IEMA, has a postgraduate diploma in Environmental Decision Making, and has over 15 years’ experience in energy consultancy.