Looking at Future Energy Scenarios

On the 13th of July National Grid launched their Future Energy Scenarios (FES) at the 2017 FES Conferenced at the QE2 Conference Centre in London.  The 4 scenarios examine potential future outcomes for the supply and demand of gas and electricity in the UK from now out to 2050.

The scenarios are used by National Grid and across the energy industry, driving debate and decision making when considering future strategy for network and operability planning and developing other forward-looking views such as charging projections.

Key messages from this year’s scenarios include: 

  • An energy system with high levels of distributed and renewable generation has become a reality. This growth is set to continue, increasing the complexity of operating a secure and cost-effective energy system.
  • New technologies and evolving business models are rapidly transforming the energy sector. Market and regulatory arrangements need to adapt swiftly to support a flexible energy system with an increasing number of participants
  • Electricity demand has the potential to increase significantly and the shape of demand will also change. This is driven initially by electric vehicles and later on by heat demand. It will require a range of solutions to deliver best value for consumers, including a coordinated approach across the whole system; investment in smart technologies, transmission and distribution infrastructure; and commercial approaches such as consumer behaviour change.

As part of her key note speech at the conference Cordi O’Hara, Director of the UK System Operator, talked about the work that National Grid is doing to transform the Electricity System Operator (ESO). The Future Role of the System Operator Programme will see the ESO facilitate industry change and deliver consumer value through transforming markets and governance, thinking across networks and improving investment decision making.  One early example of this transformation work is collaboration across energy networks companies through the Energy Networks Association (ENA) Open Networks Project.

The Energy Networks Association (ENA) Open Networks Project

The Open Networks Project, led by Energy Networks Association, is a major initiative that is in the process of re-defining how our energy networks will operate in the future as we head into a new smart era.  In this way the Open Networks project is actively seeking to address the challenges and opportunities that are presented by the key messages of the Future Energy Scenarios.   The Project brings together the leading minds in the UK energy industry, including all of the UK’s electricity network operators, including National Grid, respected academics, NGOs, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the energy regulator Ofgem.

The changing nature of energy generation and distribution

The past and the future

The Open Networks Project will enable the UK’s energy networks to move from their traditional role of delivering electricity in one direction from centralised power plants to our homes and communities, to one where they act as a smart platform that enables a whole range of new energy technologies that generate, consume and manage electricity. Local networks in particular will become more active managers of supply and demand within their area, which will require new services and interactions with the wider network.

You can find out more information on the Open Networks Project here.

You can find out more about National Grid's Future Energy Scenarios announcment here.



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