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Future Energy Scenarios 2018: National Grid’s headline figures

Image: National Grid

Image: National Grid

Yesterday National Grid published its annual Future Energy Scenarios document, one of the most hotly anticipated events in the energy sector diary. Here are some of the headline figures;

189 – 268GW

The range of total electricity generation capacity National Grid is suggesting could be operational across its four key scenarios by 2050. 268GW, the figure put forward in the system operator’s ‘Community Renewables’ scenario, is essentially double today’s generating capacity.


The share of total generating capacity which could be derived from local, decentralised plant by 2050 under the ‘Community Renewables’ scenario. This, National Grid said, would be evidence of a much wider transition to decentralised power within the scenario as households and communities take broader control of their power.


The amount of microgeneration – domestic solar, C&I solar and wind, CHP – that could be operational under the ‘Community Renewables’ scenario by 2050, providing yet another indicator of the rampant decentralisation of power generation. In comparison, the figure under National Grid’s ‘Two Degrees’ scenario is just 7GW, as offshore wind and nuclear are connected to the transmission system in much greater quantities here.

36 million

The number of electric vehicles that could be on the road by 2040. This is essentially double the number which National Grid forecasted last year as the pace of change in transport accelerates. The government’s ban on the sale of new conventional vehicles by 2040 is also pointed to, but with the government now facing mounting calls to bring that date forward, could that figure grow once again by next year’s document?


The total added peak demand caused by that penetration of electric vehicles by 2040, as long as charging is smart and managed. National Grid has made every effort to quell fears over the impact of EVs on the grid and this low estimation is yet another indicator of the role smart charging looks set to play.

373 – 441TWh

Total annual electricity demand according to National Grid’s ‘Two Degrees’ (373TWh) and ‘Community Renewables’ (441TWh) scenarios, which is in stark contrast to today’s electricity demand of 297TWh. Electrification of heat and transport, to varying degrees, is the main cause of the increase as gas witnesses its role in heating deplete.

20g – 32g CO2/kWh

Carbon intensity of the UK’s power generation in 2050 under the two models which will see the country meet its carbon reductions targets. The ‘Two Degrees’ model (20g CO2/kWh) relies on significant quantities of offshore wind and nuclear while ‘Community Renewables’ (32g CO2/kWh) sees onshore renewables dominate.


The UK’s total storage capacity in 2050 under Grid’s ‘Community Renewables’ scenario, soaring from the 9GW of storage providing flexibility in 2030. This is in turn aided by some 20.6GW of storage capacity provided via vehicle-to-grid connections as the EV transition accelerates.


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