The energy gap?


To date, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reports that demand for electricity has been pretty constant. In the 25 October[1] report detailing availability and consumption of electricity, ONS notes “Overall for the three-month period to August 2018, consumption in the industrial sector increased by 0.8 per cent compared to the same period in 2017. Consumption by other final users had a 0.1 per cent increase on the previous year.” In 1997, total consumption of energy in the UK was 321TWh. Twenty years on, in 2017 we consumed just 308TWh. There are many reasons for this including the improved energy efficiency of electrical products, systems and processes. However, this is set to change. In 2017, the National Grid warned that by 2030, electric cars could require 3.5-8GW of additional capacity, on top of the current peak demand of 60GW. Another estimate suggests that if one in three cars sold in 2035 is electric, the charging of vehicles would account for 3% of the UK’s total electricity demand. The power generation available at present simply won’t meet this increase in demand.


Short power outages for homes are disruptive, but nothing compared to the damage that can be done in industry. Pressures on the grid can result in so called ‘brown-outs’: drops in voltage in an electrical power supply system. If this happens in manufacturing plants the results can be devastating, resulting in six figure damages. More and more big businesses are looking for back-ups to their supply. So, what can we do to protect consistency in supply? Solar will play a large part in this, along with battery storage and smart technology.

[1] GOV.UK. 2018. Energy Trends: electricity – GOV.UK . [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 20 November 2018].

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