Smart charging and vehicle-to-grid technology means EVs will be able to help smooth electricity usage through the hours of the day, National Grid says. They will be able to charge mainly when demand is low and even feed back into the grid when demand is high.
“Growth in EVs supports the continued trend towards more low-carbon generation,” says National Grid. “[They] will be able to support the continued growth in renewables by storing excess generation and releasing it back onto the network when it is needed.”
Future energy scenarios
Each year, National Grid publishes a set of four scenarios for the UK’s future energy supply and demand built around the company’s own modelling and consultation with the energy community. The scenarios help the company plan for an uncertain – but rapidly changing – energy system. This year’s scenarios include a stronger focus on the UK’s transition to low-carbon. “We’ve refreshed our scenario framework to reflect the increasing importance of decentralisation and decarbonisation in our industry,” Slye writes.
Nevertheless, only two of the four scenarios meet the UK’s legally binding greenhouse gas emissions target for 2050 – an 80% cut on 1990 levels. This target is likely to be raised in response to the 2015 Paris Agreement. These points form important context for National Grid’s conclusions.
In previous years, only one of the four scenarios met the UK’s 2050 target.
Twice as many EVs
One of the most striking changes in this year’s scenarios is the much more rapid adoption of EVs.
Between 2013 and 2015, National Grid consistently said there would be around 5m EVs on UK roads by 2035. It raised that 2035 outlook to 8m in its 2016 work, rising to 10m in 2040, as Carbon Brief reported at the time. The outlook grew again last year to 13m in 2035 and 17m in 2040.
This year, National Grid says there could be up to 25m EVs by 2035 and 36m by 2040, effectively doubling its outlook from last year. The figures represent a tripling compared to 2016’s figures and a five-fold increase from the 2015 numbers. By 2040, National Grid now says EVs will reach saturation point, with all possible vehicles electrified and new EVs replacing old ones as they retire.Orginal Source