Light-duty electric vehicles, heat pumps expected to top 1 million regionally in 2030, according to ISO-NE forecast

More than 1 million light-duty electric vehicles (EVs) are expected to hit New England’s roads, with more than 1 million air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) installed in homes and businesses across the region by the end of the decade, according to ISO New England’s 2021 transportation and heating electrification forecasts.

The projections were published last week as part of the ISO’s 2021-2030 Forecast Report of Capacity, Energy, Loads, and Transmission (CELT), which forecasts consumer demand for electricity over the next decade. State policymakers have identified electrifying the transportation and heating sectors as crucial components of their greenhouse gas reduction plans. The ISO develops the electrification forecasts through a months-long collaborative process with state officials and other stakeholders. The forecasts seek to determine the impact EVs and ASHPs will have on consumer demand for electricity in the coming years.

Transportation forecast

The 2021 transportation electrification focuses on light-duty EVs, including cars and light-duty trucks. The electrification of other vehicles, such as electric buses and freight vehicles, may be considered in future forecasts. The two general components of the transportation electrification forecasts are forecasting the adoption of EVs over the next 10 years, and then converting this adoption into estimated electric demand on a monthly basis.

Highlights of the transportation forecast include:

  • The region is expected to have an additional 1,022,214 EVs between 2021 and 2030, with 486,192 of those EVs registered in Massachusetts
  • These additional EVs are expected to require 3,554 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of grid electricity in 2030, accounting for 2.7% of all grid demand
  • The vehicles are expected to account for 675 megawatts (MW), or 2.7%, of summer peak in 2030 under normal weather conditions
  • They are expected to account for 916 MW, or 4.3%, of winter peak demand in 2030 under normal weather conditions

Heating forecast

The heating electrification focuses on ASHPs, which transfer heat between buildings and the air outside. Similar to the transportation forecast, the heating electrification forecast aims to predict the adoption of these devices, and then, in turn, determine how this adoption will affect electricity use. Highlights of the heating forecast include:

  • More than 1.1 million ASHPs are expected to be installed in New England over the next decade, with nearly 670,000 in Massachusetts
  • These ASHPs are expected to increase annual grid demand by 2,526 GWh in 2030, accounting for 1.9% of all grid demand
  • The devices are expected to contribute 1,556 MW to the winter peak in 2030, accounting for 7.4% of the peak. ASHPs are not expected to impact the summer peak
  • An estimated 18.8% of households in New England will have an ASHP by 2030, including more than 40% of households in Maine
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