Tuesday, 20 February 2018
Modest Peak Consumption decline mirrored by Capacity decline - can we do more?
After an inexorable rise over most of the 20th Century, peak electricity demand in UK peaked in around 2002 at just over 60GW, plateaued until 2011, and since then has at last started to fall. This year it will be around 50GW, back to where it was in 1977.
But as my wife's uncle used to say, let's not get too euphoric.
Peak demand is still around 10GW above average demand, with an opportunity cost of £80 billion at current firm low carbon capacity costs.
Deindustrialisation and more efficient appliances have been the main drivers for peak reduction so far, with some help from industrial triad charges avoidance, but not domestic demand response.
Domestic demand response, not more wind or solar, are the best bet for reducing this peak winter demand further.
It will also reduce the need for some of the 30 or so new nuclear power stations we will otherwise require to supply the electric cars that will replace our petrol and diesel ones.