World electricity demand increased by 4% in 2018, growing nearly twice as fast as overall energy demand

Derived from the flow of electric charge, electricity has become an integral part of modern life. Many work, communication, transport and leisure activities depend on this form of energy. Given its important role in our lives, access to a secure supply of electricity is essential. Most electricity globally is produced from fossil fuels in large power plants, where heat energy from burning coal, natural gas, or oil is converted into electricity. However, low-carbon sources – nuclear energy and renewables such as solar, wind, hydro and biomass – are making up increasingly large proportions of the global generation mix as a result of efforts to mitigate climate change as well as falling technology costs. The electricity from the generators is typically fed into an electrical grid to be delivered to the consumers. Electricity first flows over large distances through the transmission network and then within regional distribution networks before finally getting delivered into our homes and businesses.

Continually matching the supply of electricity with demand is a complex task. Electricity markets are therefore designed not only to ensure ahead of time that sufficient generation capacity is available for the expected demand (typically through forward contracts) but also to perform real-time balancing using flexibility measures such as dispatchable generation, energy storage and interconnection. Nevertheless, the electricity system is transforming towards an even more complex future. While a higher share of intermittent renewables and decentralised generation in the mix disrupt the supply side, the demand side is challenged by a high level of uncertainty as electrification of heat and transport is advanced as a key decarbonisation strategy. Thus, the future will bring about additional roles for the grid, a greater need for flexibility and new business models, all of which will make electricity systems increasingly dependent upon digital technologies.

Learn more about these sources of electricity by exploring our Energy Matrix.

Discover UK energy professionals' views of the future of electricity, gathered in our annual Energy Barometer.

Search for articles on electric vehicles and the role of electricity in transport published in our magazines.

What's new?

Addressing unreliable electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa

1-10-2020
Energy investment plans in the developing world often focus on increasing access to electricity. However, in many Sub-Saharan African countries the problem is low system reliability, reports Simon Trace.

Read more »

Government cuts its estimates of costs of renewable electricity

17-09-2020
The UK government has officially recognised recent and dramatic falls in the cost of generating electricity from renewable sources – particularly wind and solar – in updated estimates of the ‘levelised cost of electricity’ (LCOE). Published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Stra...

Read more »

EU must reduce fossil electricity imports – Eurelectric

15-09-2020
As much as 80% of the EU’s electricity could be fossil-free by 2030 – if all barriers to the investment and rollout of renewables are removed. This is the conclusion of the annual Power Barometer report produced by Eurelectric, the association that represents the Europen electricity industry. The p...

Read more »

Energy Insight: UK electricity trends (DSS33, DSS36, DSS36b)

24-08-2020
This Energy Insight explores the following electricity trends:• UK electricity use, overall and by sector (DSS33)• UK power stations, installed capacity by fuel type (DSS36)• Large-scale combined heat and power (CHP) schemes in the UK (DSS36b)The UK electricity industry has been completely transform...

Read more »

Electricity storage projects to face fewer planning barriers in UK

23-08-2020
The government is to relax planning legislation to make it easier to develop large-scale battery systems that store electricity generated at solar and wind farms. Ministers are introducing legislation to remove barriers for storage projects above 50 MW in England and 350 MW in Wales. The UK already...

Read more »

Events and training

EI LIVE free webinar | Energy Systems and Digital Technologies

3-12-2020
Online bookings are now closed. Please contact comms@energyinst.org if you would like to secure a spot on the webinar.

Read more »

EI LIVE Free Webinar | Maximising System Value of the Energy Transition

21-01-2021
Sponsored by:Join the World Economic Forum, Accenture, Enel, Sempra and Hitachi ABB Power Grids in a discussion on maximising the system value of the energy transition.

Read more »

EI LIVE | Asset Management

10-03-2021
EI Knowledge Partner: Future-proofing asset management through latter stages of production operating life into a net zero energy transition model towards greener, carbon neutral industrial model.Please note that registration closes at 17:00 on 9 March 2021

Read more »

EI LIVE Free Webinar | Hydrogen: hype or hope?

21-04-2021
Could hydrogen mark the beginning of a new era for clean energy in UK and Europe?Please note that registration closes at 17:00 on 20 April 2021EI Knowledge Partner:Sponsor:

Read more »

Aviation Jet Fuel - November 2021

17-11-2021
This 3-day training course will provide delegates with an overview of aviation jet fuel, focusing on the jet engine, its underlying principles and fuel requirements as well as the critical characteristics of jet fuel, including additives, Industry best practice adopted in the supply, handling and us...

Read more »

Technical guidance publications

Controlling the risk from static electricity - DVD training tool

2013
Static electricity is a phenomenon most of us will have experienced. In industrial environments, where flammable atmospheres are present, it can have devastating effects. To complement EI Model code of safe practice Part 21: Guidelines for the control of hazards arising from static electricity, the ...

Read more »

Risks of Static Electricity: DVD and guidelines bundle

2013
To place an order, please contact our distributors:t: +44 (0)1767 604 951 e: energyinst@turpin-distribution.comIn industrial environments, where flammable atmospheres are present, static electricity can have devastating effects. In the petroleum industry, static electricity is a key conce...

Read more »

Model Code of Safe Practice Part 21: Guidelines for the control of hazards arising from static electricity

2013
 Essential reading for all those involved in the fuels distribution and supply chain, this document provides up to date guidance on key equipment, procedures and operational practices used for reducing static electric ignition risk.In the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulatio...

Read more »

CIBSE Guide K: Electricity in Buildings

2005
Provides information on electrical services in buildings. For 'lighters' - offers information on power factor correction, power supplies, uninterruptible power supplies and batteries.For lifts specialists - covers high voltage systems and electromagnetic compatibility and sources of interference.For...

Read more »

Visit our publishing site »

You may also be interested in