“With the right measures in place the UK could have the most extensive EV charging network in the world by 2025.” Andrew Roper Distribution System Operations Director SSEN Distribution
Electric Vehicles and the poor infrastructure throughout Scotland and the UK for charging points is one of the main issues identified in Accelerating a Green Recovery published by SSEN.
It was an issue which has long been identified in Orkney by EV owners when travelling south and was brought to the attention of MSPs when they visited the islands last year.
The Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee’s Energy Inquiry Findings
SSEN state that the universal provision of charge points can be secured through electricity networks working with local authorities on “area-wide tenders”. SSEN point to a successful area-wide tender process for a network of public EV charge points in the Netherlands in January 2020 which led to 20,000 public EV charge points being contracted across an area covering 3.2 million people. In comparison, as of June 2020 the UK had just 32,000 public EV charge points for a population of 66.8m people.
SSEN Distribution says the UK Government should replicate the Dutch model to accelerate the provision of EV charging infrastructure in a fair and cost-effective way.
Colin Nicol, SSEN’s Managing Director said
“SSEN stands ready to support and accelerate the green recovery. Delivering charge points in communities across the UK will support green jobs and spread investment.
“Local authorities should be empowered on this journey. We want to unlock and enable the communities we serve to realise their net zero ambitions. Local Area Energy Plans, will allow targeted investment, avoiding unnecessary cost and disruption in the transition to net zero.”
“Universal access to EV charge points is critical to a fair transition. With the right policies the UK could have the world’s most extensive EV charging network by 2025, and ensure no one is left behind.”
Analysis for the Committee on Climate Change found strategically planning and investing in the UK’s electricity networks could avoid £34bn of unnecessary expenditure between now and 2035. After significant reductions in electricity emissions over the last decade, transport is now the biggest single emitter of carbon and it is estimated that an 11,000% increase in EVs will be needed in SSEN’s central southern England and north of Scotland regions alone to meet net zero targets.
In Scotland it is estimated that there will be 1 million EVs by 2030. To cope with such an increase the infrastructure in Scotland will need investment. As a start there is a £7.5m strategic EV partnership agreed between the Scottish Government, Transport Scotland, SSEN and Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) – The Electric A9 Project.
At the launch of the Electric A9 Project in Scotland in 2018, Minister for Transport in at that time, Humza Yousaf said:
“The Electric A9 will greatly expand and build further resilience into our existing ChargePlace Scotland infrastructure, which is already one of the most comprehensive in Europe. From the site of the planned hub in Falkirk and all the way to Scrabster, visitors and local communities will be able to benefit from multiple charge place hubs across the route.
“Our ambitions, however, stretch even further than the longest road in Scotland. We want every town and city to enjoy the benefits of EVs and this requires an even wider charging network. The new Switched on Towns and Cities Challenge Fund will support local authorities and partners to implement activities to incentivise the uptake of EVs in urban areas.”
“ I’m proud that Scotland continues to lead the way in supporting and encouraging EVs on to our roads.”
Other proposals in the Accelerating a Green Recovery plan include bringing forward the ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol cars, allowing revenue from Clean Air Zones to go toward EV infrastructure and giving communities greater say in their energy future.
Standardisation of charging, allowing any EVs to be plugged into any charge point and no multiple of fiddly accounts, cards or apps being needed is also key to get more people out of petrol and diesel cars and into EVs.
Incentives to make the switch and enable cars and vans to be used as “batteries” could also support flexible national and local electricity grids and help keep costs down, whilst encouraging the development of UK “gigafactories” to build the batteries needed for transport decarbonisation could create an army of green jobs and ensure the UK creates and retains a global competitive edge in the EV supply chain.
SSEN’s owner, SSE plc, has outlined £7.5bn worth of investment to 2025 to help spur a green economy recovery from coronavirus, investing in low carbon projects and creating and supporting over 100,000 jobs across the UK. It operates the seventh largest private vehicle fleet in the UK, and the largest in Scotland and has pledged to switch 3,500 of its vehicles to electric by 2030.
Click on the link to view SSEN’s Accelerating a Green Recovery EV plan
See also: Portable EV Charging Points Project Secures Funding