On 3 February the regulator of the UK energy market unveiled its "Decarbonisation Action Plan". The strategy displays the interdependence between the need for a more flexible supply of renewable power and electric vehicles and their associated infrastructure.
At the heart of Ofgem’s plan is a commitment to equipping an energy system to meet sources of demand from electric vehicles with low carbon energy, with a particular emphasis on offshore wind. This is a welcome announcement for the EV industry and property owners seeking to benefit from the uptake in EV use, as discussed in our last post on EVs and Opportunities for Property Owners.. Securing a regular and reliable supply of energy will be a crucial factor to securing successful agreements with operators for EV charging infrastructure.
This publication is announced in the same week as the Government announced it is bringing forward its pledge to end all sales of new petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles by 2035 rather than 2040, at the launch event for the upcoming COP26 summit in Glasgow later this year.
National Grid recently predicted that we will see over 10 million EVs on UK roads by 2030 and Ofgem's plan supports the continuation of that upward trend. It says that over 38 million extra electric vehicles could be needed by 2050 in order to transition to a transport system which will enable the UK to meet its net zero commitments. It is equally important that the transition is necessarily fuelled by a reliable and stable source of renewable energy.
The regulator's new chief Jonathan Brearley commented:
"Britain has… decarbonised faster than any other major economy, but we must go further, particularly on heat and transport."
The plan has received support from key players in the energy sector. Centrica have welcomed the focus on storage and flexibility services to help increase the cost viability of renewable sources, and National Grid's support for alignment between regulation, government and industry serves to demonstrate the important role of regulation in the path to decarbonising our energy system.
Ofgem plans to release a specific strategy for electric vehicles in order to create a grid which is equipped to supply EV infrastructure.
The plan sets out nine key actions it plans to implement over the coming 18 months in order for the UK energy system to begin the path towards net zero. Key actions include:
Establishing a regulatory fund for investment in innovative solutions to climate change in order to support growth in the renewables sector;
Co-ordinating with government and industry on the need for a rapid expansion of an offshore grid;
Exploring cost-effective and low risk options to decarbonise heating;
Supporting innovation in the retail market to create low carbon products; and
Working to make regulation more adaptable.
Read a summary of the announcement and Ofgem's full Decarbonisation Action Plan here.
To achieve net zero will require a huge increase in renewable and low carbon electricity, especially to meet new sources of demand such as electric vehicles. We will also need an energy system which can continue to reliably supply energy when consumers need it.