Having more electric vehicles (EVs) on the road will help to support the continued growth of the low-carbon sector, according to National Grid.

The system operator’s annual Future Energy Scenarios report said electric vehicles will be able to support the continued growth in renewables by storing excess generation and releasing it back onto the network when it is needed.

Fintan Slye, Director of the UK System Operator at National Grid, said: “The continued growth in electric vehicles, a greater volume of low-carbon generation and the advancement of storage technology, are among the major trends that have emerged from this year’s report.

“This means balancing energy supply and demand will become increasingly complex between now and 2050.”

Only 8GW extra peak demand

Lawrence Slade, Chief Executive at trade body Energy UK, said the report highlighted the importance of “smart charging” and how EVs could play a role in managing demand on the network.

“With their ability to store and supply electricity back to the grid it’s striking that, even with potentially 36 million EVs on the road by 2040, National Grid predicts the extra peak demand could be as little as 8GW if managed appropriately,” he added.

“A projected doubling of installed capacity by 2050 underlines the case for a stable policy framework that enables the necessary investment to be made at the least cost to customers.”

Meanwhile, a lack of detail over the rules for electric vehicles (EVs) in 2040 means the UK Government’s Road to Zero strategy has fallen short of expectations, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has said.

The advisory body warned that leaving open the possibility of sales of conventional hybrids and very short-range plug-in hybrids in 2040 and following years is “inconsistent” with the UK’s climate change commitments.

The CCC said that the popularity of higher-emissions sports utility vehicles (SUVs) is cancelling out emissions savings from improvements in technology, with “potentially serious implications” for meeting the UK’s carbon budgets.

> Download National Grid's Future Energy Scenarios