The UK has been decarbonising emissions from the power sector faster than anywhere else in the world. But nobody chose to illustrate stories about this with LED light bulbs – they used wind turbines etc. Statistically the biggest decarbonising driver has been energy efficient technology. Reductions in demand have dwarfed switches from coal to renewables. Primary energy consumption is down 20% since 2000. Sales of natural gas have dropped by almost a third. Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C were both planned in the 2005 Energy White Paper to deal with specifically a 15% rise in electricity demand by 2020. Currently primary energy demand is officially forecast to fall another 11% by 2025 and then we shall revert to our bad old ways. Imperial College says electricity demand may bottom out towards the end of the 2020s and then begin growing. But on the other hand: “it may continue its gradual decline”. Nine million electric vehicles on UK roads require 8GW of extra generating capacity if people charge them up when they like. But smart charging could cut that to well below 4GW according to National Grid. Even if increases in electric vehicles meet the most aggressive scenarios National Grid’s modelling suggests the transmission system will not require a wholesale upgrade.
Energy in Buildings (accessed) 17th March 2020 read more »