Richard Smith, National Grid

By 2020, the expectation is that around 20% of the UK’s energy will come from electricity, 40% from gas and 40% from oil. By 2050, projections show that this may shift towards 50% electricity (mainly wind, nuclear and CCS, plus other renewables, interconnection and embedded generation); 35% gas (LNG and continental imports, plus biomethane) and 15% oil; with a key area of policy debate being around the balance between gas and electricity. The full electrification of heat would require around 150 GW of supply, even after significant improvements in energy efficiency. This and the electrification of transport will create new challenges for transmission delivery, e.g. heat pumps could result in 1-4GW of peak demand and electric vehicles could result in 1-5GW of peak demand by 2020; there could be the emergence of hot-spots of demand and issues around evening peak demand, with a need to help manage these through time-of-use tariffs and smart metering. There will also be distribution delivery challenges, as peak demand in homes will significantly increase, especially in those with a heat pump and electric car, with a possible need to double the capacity of distribution networks by 2050. Key questions for National Grid will be based around what consumers want and how to balance the needs for reliability, safety, the environment, connections and customer satisfaction.

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