There’s a choice:
Invest to build on the existing model: central large scale generation and distribution, upgrading the existing wires and infrastructure (transformers and switchgear) to pass double the electricity capacity (like the old telephone system),
Embed multiple smaller generation sources with storage at the point of use leading to reduced system: demand, transmission losses and infrastructure investment, while building grid resilience and energy security (like the new mobile data networks).
To realise Net Zero by 2050, how much flexibility will the UK need?
By 2050 according to UK National Grid ESO – “Future Energy Scenarios” (FES) “Flexibility” electricity storage capacity increases from 4 to 43 GW and Industrial and Commercial (I&C) demand side response (DSR) capacity increases from 1.3 to 16 GW. While electricity annual demand increases from 294 to 686 TWh with peak demand increasing from 58 to 95 GW and storage from 4 to 63 GW.
The conclusion: by 2050 electricity generation will more than double to 686 TWh, to achieve this with low carbon wind and solar, installed generation capacity increases from 36 to 216 GW (+600%) and flexibility to support variable generation: storage 63 GW (+1,057%) with I&C DSR adding 16 GW (+1,230%).