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Clean cars ‘drive’ power demand

UPDATE: R-UK says renewables should meet needs of electric vehicles

Clean cars ‘drive’ power demand image

Peak demand for electricity could increase by 18GW by 2050 buoyed by the rise in electric vehicles, according to the National Grid.

National Grid said in its annual ‘Future Energy Scenarios’ report that electric cars could represent more than 90% of all car sales by 2050.

It added that electric vehicles are projected to reach 1 million by the early 2020s, rising to as many as 9 million by 2030, which could increase peak demand by 3.5GW.

In another scenario, however, National Grid projected a more modest rise in electricity demand.

“In a world where environmental sustainability is top priority, shared driverless vehicles could potentially make up 50% of electric vehicles,” it said.

In this scenario, sharing of vehicles and off peak charging patterns may result in peak demand rising only 6GW by 2050.

National Grid head of energy insights Marcus Stewart 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.

“Electric vehicles are one of many new technologies that are rapidly transforming the energy sector; technical progress and cost reductions in storage and solar panels have driven major change in a short space of time.

“This new era of network operation is exciting and manageable, but it’s important there is investment in smart technologies and electricity infrastructure, and a coordinated approach across the whole electricity system.”

RenewableUK executive director Emma Pinchbeck said: “The surge in electricity demand envisaged by National Grid to power electric vehicles will need to be met by a wide range of clean sources, including onshore and offshore wind, wave and tidal energy, if we’re to meet our carbon reduction commitments and deliver the modern energy system that consumers need.”

Image: electric car charging bay (Wikimedia Commons)

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