Plug-in electric cars in UK (Go Ultra Low)

Plug-in electric cars in UK (Go Ultra Low)

The UK's National Grid released a report about a possible peak electricity demand increase brought about by an expanding plug-in electric vehicle fleet.

The main insight is that if the growth continues, and plug-in share will exceed 90% of all cars by 2050, peak demand will increased by 18 GW, from a level currently less than 60 GW.

By 2030 the additional peak demand would increase by some 8 GW, but smart charging could limit such a big increase down to a more manageable 3.5 GW.

Another factor that could change the numbers in the future is shared autonomous cars.

Marcus Stewart, head of energy insights at National Grid said:

"The scenarios are not predictions but they aim to be a catalyst for debate, decision making and change, and provide transparency to the wider industry."

It seems that utilities around the world are aware that renewable energy sources, energy storage systems and also electric cars will be pretty disruptive for their businesses, and are not at least trying to imagine what that future landscape might look like.

Electricity demand has the potential to increase significantly and the shape of demand will also change. This is driven initially by electric vehicles and later on by heat demand. It will require a range of solutions to deliver the best value for consumers, including a coordinated approach across the whole system; investment in smart technologies, transmission and distribution infrastructure; and commercial approaches such as consumer behaviour change.

  • Electricity peak demand could be as high as 85 GW in 2050, compared to around 60 GW today, driven by a number of factors. Electric vehicles are projected to reach around one million by the early 2020s, and there could be as many as nine million by 2030. Without smart charging, this could result in an additional 8 GW of demand at peak times. Heat pump demand may also add to this.
  • If weather patterns continue to change, air conditioning could raise peak demand in summer to a similar level to winter towards the end of the scenario period.
  • Away from peak demand periods the increase in distributed generation, in particular solar, could lead to periods of very low demand on the transmission system.

Report: National Grid - Future Energy Scenarios (2017)

Source: Reuters