An analysis of future energy supply in National Grid’s latest Future Energy Scenarios suggests that offshore wind will play a huge role in meeting UK demand for energy
In all of the scenarios modelled by National Grid in the newly published report, renewable generation grows substantially, with growth most pronounced in the faster decarbonising scenarios.
Offshore wind dominates the future growth of renewables, thanks to continued reductions in cost, turbine and supply chain developments and government support through the recently signed Sector Deal.
Overall wind capacity increases significantly in all scenarios, with capacity almost doubling by 2030 even in the scenarios with lowest growth. Most onshore and offshore wind sites are assumed to repower in all scenarios.
“The Sector Deal has led us to increase the anticipated capacity of offshore wind across all scenarios compared to FES 2018,” said National Grid, noting that it will “maximise the advantages for UK industry from the global shift to clean growth.
“The Sector Deal gives more certainty on the timing of future contract for difference rounds, increasing investor certainty. It targets the installation of 30 GW of offshore wind generation by 2030, and we assume this is met or more than met in the 2050 compliant scenarios.”
In a ‘Two Degrees’ scenario, electrification of transport and partial electrification of heat increases electricity demand from the mid-2020s. The large increase in output from wind, particularly offshore, and an increase in solar, means that by 2030, renewable generation could potentially account for almost 80% of total electricity output.
In ‘Consumer Evolution,’ the electrification of transport increases electricity demand. However, the pace of change is slower than the 2050 compliant scenarios. There is also much less electrification of heat. As a result, demand does not grow as quickly as in Two Degrees, but a large increase in output from offshore wind, and later some growth of solar and onshore wind, help to meet demand.