Electric cars will support the UK’s move to renewable energy by storing excess generation capacity, according to a National Grid report.
Smart charging infrastructure and vehicle-to-grid technology can support the decarbonisation of electricity, the Future Energy report says.
There could be up to 36M electric vehicles on the roads by 2040, but the increase in peak demand for electricity could be as little as 8GW. Cars can support the rollout of renewables by storing low carbon generating capacity and sending electricity back to the grid when needed, it says.
The report says: “From 2030, particularly in the more decarbonised scenarios, we anticipate times where there may be an excess of electricity.
“This is because electricity output from inflexible and intermittent generation will outstrip demand and at times it will not be possible to export this electricity, as connected markets will have the same excess as Britain.
“Market development, new technologies and new ways of designing and operating networks will be needed to address the operational challenges that arise as a result.”
National Grid UK system operator director Fintan Slye said: “The continued growth in electric vehicles, a greater volume of low carbon generation and the advancement of storage technology, are among the major trends that have emerged from this year’s report.
“This means balancing energy supply and demand will become increasingly complex between now and 2050. The growth of decentralised generation, meeting carbon reduction targets for heat and the continued importance of gas furthers the need for a co-ordinated approach across the whole industry.”
The National Grid Future Energy report imagines four scenarios that would move the sector towards government decarbonisation targets that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% of 1990 levels by 2050.
On Tuesday the government announced a £1.5bn fund for ultra-low emission vehicles infrastructure, including charging points in new homes and lampposts.