Can we cope with an increase in renewable energy demand in the UK?

Can we cope with an increase in renewable energy demand in the UK?

Can we cope with an increase in renewable energy demand in the UK?

Thanks to the continuous innovations in technology for electric and low carbon vehicles, demand for cleaner energy is on the rise. With energy production from renewable sources on the rise, such as wind power, is the UK prepared with the technology to store this energy at the capacities and places required?

According to the latest Energy Trends report by the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero, renewable electricity generation capacity grew by 6% this year, the highest rate of growth since 2017. Subsequently, nuclear, gas and petroleum production rates fell. As a result, shares in renewable generation rose by 3.5% and low carbon energy generation rose by 2.7%.

With an increase in demand in renewable energy, comes an increase in need for expansion in the UK’s energy storage capacity. There is currently over 2.4GW of operational energy storage in the UK, according to Solar Media Market Research. However, the total pipeline for the UK’s energy storage is currently at 61.5GW, across over 1,319 different sites. So, in terms of storage, the numbers seem to suggest the country could be well equipped and prepared for energy demand to increase further.

Will there be enough electricity to charge millions of EVs?

In 2023, there were over 810,000 electric vehicles and 510,000 hybrid vehicles on UK roads. The big question is, with eventually millions of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road, will there be enough electricity and infrastructure in place to charge EVs effectively and efficiently?

According to the National Grid, there will be enough. Recent reports highlight the following:

  • EV owners tend to charge their vehicles overnight, when demand for electricity is lowest, helping to balance out peaks in demand to the grid.
  • With renewable energy production from wind for example, on the rise, the significant amount of electricity capacity needed to refine oil for petrol can be saved and used for charging EVs instead.
  • Leftover power can be sent back to the grid when there is a surplus.


Furthermore, the National Grid says, “Even if we all switched to EVs overnight, we believe demand would only increase by around 10%. So, we’d still be using less power as a nation than we did in 2002 and this is well within the range of manageable load fluctuation”.

Some considerations for preparing for imminent rises in electricity demand

Preparing for an increase in demands for electric energy storage in the UK requires a comprehensive approach that addresses both technical and regulatory aspects. Much work is being done in this area to prepare us for current demands and future growth. There are several considerations, some of which are highlighted below:

  • Grid expansion and upgrade: The existing electrical grid needs continued investment and enhancement to accommodate increased demand. This includes enhancing transmission and distribution infrastructure.
  • Charging infrastructure: The country needs to continue to develop and roll out a robust network of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to support the growing number of electric vehicles, which contribute to increased electricity demand.
  • Increase capacity: Additional energy storage facilities need to be built, including both large-scale grid-level storage and distributed storage systems. Consideration also needs to be given to providing access to remote and rural areas.
  • Battery technology R&D: There has been a significant amount of research and innovation in advanced battery technologies to improve energy storage capacity, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. Further emphasis on this is needed along with considerations for sustainability and environmental impact.
  • Smart grid technology: The further implementation of smart grid technologies will better integrate renewable energy sources and manage fluctuations in supply and demand.
  • Grid access and connection: Regulations need to be streamlined to facilitate the connection of energy storage systems to the grid, ensuring a smooth integration process.
  • Standards for storage: Standards for energy storage systems need to be further developed and enforced to ensure safety, reliability, and interoperability. This will help create a consistent and predictable regulatory environment.
  • Global collaboration: Much advancement has been made globally and there’s much that countries can learn from one another by sharing best practices, technologies, and experiences in managing increased demand for electric energy storage.
  • Incentivisation of efficient energy use: The promotion of energy efficiency practices and technologies to manage demand effectively will help to reduce the need for excessive energy storage capacity.
  • Emergency preparedness: Robust contingency plans need to be in place for handling unexpected events, such as extreme weather conditions, which are increasingly on the rise, or sudden increases in energy demand.
  • Adaptability: Policies and regulations need to be flexible enough to adapt to evolving technologies and market conditions.


It’s encouraging to see the research, innovation and progress that is being achieved to address these considerations. Further progress will undoubtedly contribute to the UK better preparing for a potential increase in demands for electric energy storage, fostering the creation of a more resilient and sustainable energy infrastructure that prepares us for an electric future.

Dawson Shanahan has been developing innovative precision engineered solutions for components in the power generation, power storage, electric charging, and electric vehicle sectors for many years – to enhance power generation, storage and electric charging abilities and efficiencies. To learn more, click the links below:

Contact us here