Massive growth of electricity T&D networks predicted


Massive growth of the world’s electricity transmission and distribution systems is predicted as electrification of energy demand continues to increase, with estimates that the total installed power line length and capacity will more than triple by 2050.

System operators’ tasks will become substantially more complex; yet there may well be less energy flowing across the networks, resulting in fixed costs becoming a greater part of the bill.

This is one of the outcomes of the newly released Energy Transition Outlook 2018: Power Supply and Use report, released by DNV GL. The report provides an outlook of the global energy landscape up to 2050.

The good news is that despite major expansion of high-capital-cost renewables and electricity networks, energy will become more affordable. It is predicted that the total cost of energy expenditure, as a share of global GDP, will fall from 5.5% to 3.1%, a drop of 44%.

It is estimated that electricity’s share of the total energy demand is expected to more than double to 45% in 2050, driven by substantial electrification in the transport, buildings, and manufacturing sectors.

This is coupled with the uptake of private electric vehicles (EVs), with 50% of all new cars in Europe by 2027 expected to be EVs.

The authors further predict that renewable sources will account for an estimated 80% of global electricity production in 2050; solar PV delivering 40% of electricity generation and wind energy 29%.

However, the energy transition will not be fast enough to meet global climate targets. In fact, it is predicted that the first emission-free year will be 2090, assuming the energy transition continues at the pace predicted in its report.

The full Energy Transition Outlook ‘Power Supply and Use’ report is available for a free download here.