Predicting our future energy needs

Predicting our future energy needs

Guest speaker Dave Wagstaff, an energy insights senior power analyst at National Grid, gave Prospect's energy supply industry sector conference an overview of the company’s annual work on gathering future energy scenarios.

David Wagstaff, ESI Conference 2017

The scenarios consider Britain’s energy demand and supply needs over the long term, he told delegates at the London event on 3 July. They are based on the trilemma of security of supply, sustainability and affordability, and aim to provide credible pathways for the future up to 2050, including capturing uncertainties.

David WagstaffWagstaff, pictured right, said the scenarios formed the basis of everything National Grid goes on to do, such as in capacity markets or designing the future system.

Just as with the weather, it was impossible to make an accurate prediction on the basis of one forecast, “especially when we are in the midst of an energy revolution”, he explained.

Wagstaff summarised the four key messages arising from 2016’s scenarios, which were:

  • Traditional sources of energy supply are being replaced with an ever-divergent mix.
  • Action needs to be taken this decade to drive progress towards the 2050 carbon reduction target.
  • Significant progress is needed in the heating and transport sectors to meet the 2020 renewable energy target.
  • Gas will play an essential role in energy decarbonisation.

The 2017 future energy scenarios were launched on 13 July, a few days after the conference. Find out more from

Photo caption: Guest speaker Dave Wagstaff addressing the conference
Photographer: Stefano Cagnoni