Major role for cars as storage in National Grid futures

Reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is achievable, but not all scenarios can achieve it, according to the National Grid Electricity System Operator's Future Energy Scenarios report.

The report maps out five credible scenarios for the future of energy for the next 30 years, and includes a major role for electric vehicles in decarbonisation, with a predicted 35 million electric vehicles on the road by 2050, EVs could be used to store excess electricity with the potential to store roughly one fifth of UK’s solar generation for when this energy is needed, effectively creating a ‘car-grid’ for storage when the battery inside the EV would otherwise be unproductive and necessitating other storage devices to be created.

The report also outlines the potential for hydrogen as a fast refilling fuel for heavy-use commercial vehicles, whilst domestic transport is electrified. By 2050 the report considers that fossil fuelled vehicles will be virtually eliminated.

The report also outlines large scale changes in how power is generated, including growth in wind and solar generation. There are domestic actions too - homes in 2050 will need to use at least one third less energy for heating than today, with over 7 million hybrid heat pumps installed by 2050 to provide continued flexibility.

Kayte O’Neill, head of strategy and regulation at National Grid ESO, said: “Although these are not firm predictions we’ve talked to over 600 industry experts to build this insight and it’s clear whilst net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is achievable, there are significant changes ahead.”

Full report here.

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