UK electricity demand and supply: major changes expected to 2030
10 July 2012, Electricity
Datamonitor's Power Analyzer forecasts an increase in total electricity demand of 17% by 2030. Residential, commercial, and transport demand are all expected to increase, but industrial demand will fall. Transport sector demand is expected to more than double from 8.0TWh to 23.9TWh in the run up to 2030, driven by the expected uptake of electric vehicles.
Also of note is the effect of energy efficiency measures on residential demand, which is forecast to increase by 19% to 2030. Without the use of more efficient lighting, insulation, and smart meters, residential demand would rise by 32% by 2030.
On the supply side, although conventional thermal generation will remain the primary source of electricity generation in 2030, the makeup of this will change dramatically. Under the assumption of progressive coal plant closures later on this decade, natural gas will be the dominant form of generation in 2030, making up 50% of the total generation mix.
Renewables too will see a big increase in its share of the generation mix. Datamonitor forecasts wind generation to increase the fastest, almost tripling in generation output between 2012 and 2030 to over 73.0TWh in 2030; some 18% of the total generation mix, up from 2% in 2012.
Solar too is forecast to increase its share substantially - although from a small base - driven by falling average installation costs rather than feed-in tariffs. Datamonitor forecasts solar capacity of over 10GW in 2030, generating almost 3.7TWh.
Nuclear, of course, will continue to have a significant role in the UK's electricity supply. Datamonitor forecasts that - boosted primarily by the UK's 2012 Energy Bill - nuclear generation will peak during 2020-25 and then fall to about 14% of the generation mix in 2030, at approximately 58.8TWh.
Datamonitor forecasts a gap between supply and demand that will increase slightly out to 2030. Thus the UK will remain a net importer of electricity, importing just over 10.5TWh in 2030, or 3% of total demand.
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