A blog by Imran Mohammed, Senior Business Insight Analyst

As the energy landscape continues to evolve, it is important that we as a business continue to revisit and assess the expected energy trends that will shape our future network, along with their related assumptions, so that we can build a clearer picture of what challenges and opportunities lie ahead. The energy industry is constantly transitioning as a result of technological advances, policy changes and consumer behaviour – and we as a business need to be responsive to this. We need to be ahead of the energy curve.

Today we have published our second and updated Energy Trends report for 2018, revisiting our findings from our first Energy Trends paper which was published in August 2017, and reassessing where further energy research and information gathering is required. The Energy Trends report is very much our building block foundations for our North of Scotland Future Energy Scenarios work – its where it all began, and working from the bare bones up, helps us to identify further areas which may need more attention, research and consultation with key stakeholders to improve our network preparatory work.

Key areas of focus for this year’s report includes trends in Electricity Generation, Electricity Consumption – both domestic and commercial - and Transport, specifically in uptake of electric vehicles in the north of Scotland.

The findings from this year’s study suggest a surprising change in industrial and commercial electricity consumption in our network area, with electricity use down and a dramatic rise in gas consumption. Last year we reported a staggering 13% increase in average industrial electricity consumption over the last decade, in contrast to a 7% decline seen across GB as a whole, as a result of what is assumed to be a booming food and beverage sector in Scotland’s Highland heartlands including craft beer, gin distilleries and, of course, whisky.

The latest figures show a marked step change in this trend with average industrial electricity use down a whopping 24.3% from 2015 to 2016, and use of gas increasing by 10%. At this stage we are not sure why this is; however, we will be fully investigating this further with key stakeholders to understand what the causation could be.

As these findings show, even in a short period of time energy trends can greatly change, its therefore hugely important that we continue to identify, follow and prepare for these changes as they happen, so we can continue to meet our customers’ needs in the most economical way, and factor in these changes as part of our wider North of Scotland Energy Scenario work stream.

If you would like to share your views, and provide further insight for the benefit of our network you can access the Energy Trends paper here.

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