National Grid releases latest Future Energy Scenarios report

Surge in electric vehicles a major factor in National Grid's latest Future Energy Scenarios (FES) report.

National Grid has published its Future Energy Scenarios (FES 2017) projections today, with the System Operator forecasting a sharp increase in peak power demand linked to an expected growth in electric vehicle usage.


Future Energy Scenarios
Future Energy Scenarios

National Grid has forecast that peak demand could be as high as 85GW in 2050. This includes expectations that the number of Electric Vehicles (EVs) will rise to 9 million by 2030, from around 90,000 today. This would result in an additional 8GW of demand at peak according to the ‘Two degrees’ scenario.


However, electric vehicles could create as much as 18GW of additional demand by 2050 under the National Grid forecasts. The slowest forecast growth in EVs still sees the technology make up 30% of sales by 2050. If this transition is not managed correctly, peak time electricity demand in a prosperous economy could grow by almost 1GW per year post 2030. An additional demand pressure, according to the System Operator, could come from air conditioning use on very warm days, with the potential to add 17GW to peak consumption by 2050.

However, electricity demand from industry is expected to decline in all but one scenario. In the ‘Two Degrees’ scenario – which maximises carbon reduction efforts – the decarbonisation of heat in the UK will lead to a further increase in power demand, as electric heating becomes more prevalent.


Future Energy Scenarios


National Grid says it sees smaller businesses, with the aid of aggregators with suitable information communication technologies (ICT), taking advantage of demand response schemes. Furthermore, use of smart appliances could decrease residential peak demand as much as 18% from 2030 onwards in the ‘Two degrees’ scenario and about 2% in National Grid’s ‘Steady State’ scenario.

Meeting Electricity Demand

From an electricity supply angle, the Future Energy Scenarios report expects continued growth in renewable generation. The most positive scenario forecasts a 60% increase in renewable capacity to as much as 110GW by 2050. Electricity storage could grow from 4GW in 2016 to 6GW by 2020. Furthermore, the ‘Consumer Power’ scenario sees an increase of 50% (reaching 93GW) in distributed generation by 2050.

The growth in Interconnector projects varies between 5 and 13 projects depending on the extent of investment and policy support. This would increase Interconnector capacity by 10 to 20GW from 2025.


Future Energy Scenarios
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