A glimpse into the not too distant future
RENEWABLE ENERGY 20% ELECTRic VEHICLEs 3 million today 125 million by 2030
The future is electric. With the modern drive towards a cleaner, greener way of life we are already seeing a surge in the number of electric vehicles on the country’s roads. And that means how we live and travel is already undergoing significant change.
The leading UK economics consultancy, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) warns that the UK’s demand for electricity will continue to grow in the future.
The changes to our energy needs are far from a distant project in the planning stages: the good news is that the infrastructure needed to support this cleaner way of living is well underway.
Part of this energy revolution is the need for the country to operate a smart grid, which is a modern way of running our energy networks. Smart meters, currently being offered to households across Great Britain, are a crucial step towards this smart energy grid. CHANGES TO TRANSPORT All the studies conclude that electric vehicles are by far the cleaner, greener transport option. As many reports highlight the dangerously high level of carbon emissions that exist, especially in urban locations, the trend towards electric vehicles isn’t just timely, but necessary and at the front of many people’s car buying plans. A recent Populus survey, undertaken on behalf of Smart Energy GB, showed that 8 million people in the UK are considering buying or leasing an electric car in the next five years. And, energy experts predict, within 30 years, petrol and diesel-fuelled transport will be a thing of the past.
A quiet energy revolution has been taking place across the country as increasing numbers of charging points have been added in the UK’s towns and cities.
Last year, more than 3,000 new charging points were installed as part of the country’s existing network and that figure is only set to rise.
As increasing numbers of us make this switch from traditionally fuelled cars to plug-ins, there will be a significant change to how we use energy both at home and at work, with a need not just for more public chargers, but for more domestic charge points, too.
This is where smart meters and the smart grid will come into play. Most consumers will want to be able to charge their electric vehicle at home. Smart meters, which are currently being installed by energy suppliers in households across Great Britain will play a crucial role in making the process more reliable.
Smart meters will also be able to help electric car owners be even more environmentally friendly, by matching their charging needs with the greenest electricity on the system.
RENEWABLE ENERGY Evidence shows that consumers with smart meters reduce their energy consumption because they can check their in-home display and see their energy use in pounds and pence. They can then use this information to make changes to their behaviour and make savings.
Moving towards a smart grid will help us understand demand and regulate supply – particularly as renewables become increasingly vital to our mix of energy sources.
Solar and wind are among the cleanest forms of renewable energy and hugely reduce our carbon footprint. But the sun doesn’t shine constantly, and it’s not always windy, even in the UK. That means variable supply, but a smarter grid will be able to make the most of new energy storage technologies so that excess energy can be used when it’s needed. IMAGINING THE FUTURE The real transport of the future will be an environmentally-friendly one where even car ownership will adjust to ensure transport operates on a needs-must basis. In just 12 years’ time, experts predict the private ownership of vehicles will be on the wane as we move towards mobility-as-aservice providers. We will rely upon shared (electric) connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) to get from home to the office. In hyper urban areas, the future commuter will have the option of taking ‘aviation taxis’ home. While it all sounds a bit Bladerunner, there’s no denying the technological advances over the past 20 years have been huge, so if we stay with that pace, the future really will be electric – and much better for the planet.
DRIVING CHANGE EVs are part of an energy revolution MONITOR Smart meters show the cost of your energy usage