The 2016 Future Energy Scenarios (FES) offer a detailed insight into how Britain’s energy revolution might evolve by 2050. Here are 10 things we learned from the four scenarios of Consumer Power, Gone Green, Slow Progression and No Progression.
Under Gone Green, Britain exceeds the unofficial sub-target by 34% of electricity being sourced from renewables on time by 2020. The overall target of 15% of energy coming from renewables is met at dates ranging from 2022 to 2029, largely due to slower progress in the heating and transport sectors.
2. 32 billion cubic metres
In the Consumer Power scenario, we expect 32bcm of UK shale gas to be extracted each year by 2040, and 49% of electricity generation to come from small-scale generation by the same date.
The Slow Progression scenario sees the UK heavily dependent on imported gas by 2040, with 93% of supplies coming from overseas. In a Slow Progression world, we project 7.8 million electric vehicles to be on our roads by 2040.
By 2050 there is the lowest electricity demand of all scenarios under No Progression. In this ‘business as usual’ world, 88% of residential heating is met by gas.
5. 10 million +
In the residential sector, Gone Green envisages more than 10 million low-carbon heating systems by 2040, while in two of the four scenarios there is a steep rise in the low-carbon heating systems beyond 2040, which could have a significant impact on summer demand.
6. 20,000 to 135,000
In the transport sector, the number of additional natural gas vehicles (NGVs) expected on our roads by 2030 ranges from 20,000 to 135,000, from a starting point of near zero in 2013. This represents a gas demand growth of between 3.5 and 24TWh per year.
The transformation in Britain’s electricity supply is underlined by 30 different technologies that helped to meet Britain’s electricity needs in 2015. Renewable generation represents 30% of installed capacity and meets 24% of demand.
8. £250 million
The UK Government’s announcement of a £250m research and development programme has given fresh impetus to the potential role of small modular reactors (SMRs) in the nation’s future energy landscape. SMRs are smaller than conventional nuclear reactors and have been in operation for more than 50 years, particularly on military submarines and ships.
Great Britain’s current electricity interconnector capacity is 3.8GW. This could increase to 23.3GW in 2040. From 2031 onwards, the Gone Green scenario is the only net export scenario, reaching exports of 33TWh by 2035.
The planned operational date for a demonstration bio-substitute natural gas (bioSNG) plant, producing up to 2 million cubic metres of gas per year. If the technology can be developed successfully, there could be production of around 3bcm by 2030, rising to 9bcm by 2050.
What will Britain’s future energy landscape look like? National Grid’s 2016 Future Energy Scenarios explore credible pathways up to 2050.