The Scenario Report

4. Electricity demand
Electricity demand growth, when analysing either recent trends or the projections for the different shores of the Mediterranean, reveals an intense contrast. While demand growth is expected to maintain its recent trend of increase south of the Mediterranean Sea with a significantly high rate (between 2% and 4% per year), demand trends in the Western European countries show it is expected to remain constant.

This chapter represents a description of the data set related to demand, including an analysis of the whole Mediterranean area, on a sub-regional scale and at country level, to illustrate the differences in terms of demand evolution in the Mediterranean Power System.

4.1 Electricity demand forecast by scenario and by region

Figure 4-1. Annual electricity demand forecasts for all Mediterranean countries (2019 reference year and 2030 scenarios)

Figure 4-1 shows the annual demand forecasts for all Mediterranean countries up to 2030 for the three scenarios. Due to the massive impact of COVID-19 in 2020, the reference year for the reference year for the electricity demand is 2019. The scope of electricity demand incorporates all uses of electricity, losses included, as well as new uses such as electric mobility. It includes the share of consumption satisfied by auto-production (for example self-production through solar panels on the roof in the residential sector). However, the electricity consumption of electrolyzers, which constitutes an energy transformation from electricity to hydrogen, is excluded from the scope of electricity demand.

The Inertial scenario shows an extension of the past trend over the next decade, with consumption by 2030 of 2400 TWh, i.e., an increase of 19% compared to the reference year 2019. This corresponds to an average annual growth of + 1.8% in electricity consumption. In this scenario, the development of new uses remains moderate, and no break with the trend of the last five years is anticipated.

In both the Proactive and Mediterranean Ambition scenarios, the demand growth is much more marked, with consumption reaching nearly 2700 TWh in 2030, an increase of 33%. This corresponds to an average annual growth of +2.9% in electricity consumption in one decade, driven by favourable economic and demographic conditions, but also by a more marked development of new uses of electricity, for example in mobility, and more generally, by an increase in the share of electricity to meet the energy needs of human activities.

The data mining for the load demand of each country and for each scenario was performed based on statistical and historical data. In total, there are 23 different entities (countries, cf. Figure 3-3) examined, covering the whole Mediterranean Region and divided into four sub-regions according to their location. Figure 4-2 shows the subdivision of the annual electricity demand between the identified four regions of the Mediterranean from 2019 to the three scenarios of 2030. With respect to the drivers, each scenario has a different rate of evolution in relation to load consumption.

Figure 4-2. The electricity demand by Mediterranean Region in 2019 and for the three 2030 scenarios

For all the scenarios, demand growth remains comparatively weaker in the countries of the North-West region, which confirms the trend observed in the last decade. Consequently, while in 2019 the electricity consumption of the countries located in the north-west of the Mediterranean represented around 55% of the consumption for the entire Mediterranean, this proportion should drop to around 47% by 2030 in the three scenarios, similarly compensated by the other three regions. Figure 4-3 shows the demand share among regions for the three scenarios.

It should also be noted for the countries of the North-West region, that the demand projection by 2030 is in continuation of the stable trend for the Inertial scenario, while it shows significant growth (+17%) for the two other scenarios, which translates into the development of the electrification of uses in connection with the energy transition.

This difference between scenarios is much weaker for the other countries, on the one hand because the Inertial scenario includes for a trend of growth in electricity demand these countries linked to demographics and economic development, and on the other, because the energy transition factors remain almost undetectable in terms of consumption at the 2030 time-horizon, with regard, for example, to the slow progress of electric mobility.

Figure 4-3. Comparison of the demand share among regions for the three scenarios with the situation in 2019

Other complementarities among Mediterranean countries

While the relative evolution of electricity consumption among Mediterranean countries by 2030 provides a first indication of exchange opportunities, the load of each country is examined in more detail, with reference to the historical data from 2019. Forecasts are firstly examined for each scenario at country level and an additional level of detail is added with the examination of consumption curves on an hourly basis.

Figure 4-4 provides the load data of each country of the Mediterranean area for the three scenarios with the data from 2019.

Figure 4-4. The electricity demand of each country of the Mediterranean area for the three scenarios with 2018 data

A more detailed examination of consumption can provide additional information, starting with seasonality. The seasonality of electricity consumption is a direct consequence of the use of electricity for heating in winter and for air conditioning in summer. Excess consumption during these periods is therefore the result of two combined elements: first, the general climatic conditions in a country and the temperature range covered during the year; second, the development of heating and air conditioning equipment and building construction techniques. Therefore, a cold climate does not automatically imply an increase in electricity consumption in winter, especially when the general heating fuel is natural gas.

An accurate modelling of those phenomena is not only important to assess the seasonal demand profile, but above all to measure the effect of the strongest cold or heat waves that can strike any countries in exceptional moments. This question is of prime importance for addressing the security of supply issues and sizing of peak generation capacity.

Figure 4-5 illustrates the seasonality of the demand (in the Inertial scenario) for each Mediterranean country. For each month of the year, the colour indicates the ratio between the average monthly consumption and the average annual consumption (the scale covers the range 0.8-1.3 from light mauve to dark mauve).

Figure 4-5. The electricity demand of each country of the Mediterranean area for the three scenarios with 2018 data

In France, in several Balkan countries, and in Palestine the peak load is observed during winter where the demands for heating are higher and electric heating is well developed. On the contrary, the load during summertime is higher in most of the North African countries (particularly in Algeria and Tunisia), in Cyprus and Greece, but also in Italy and in Spain, as the demand for cooling is imperative and covers a large period from June to August.

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