Ask anyone involved in assessing the viability of potential sites for developing rapid charge point for EVs and, inevitably, one (if not the key) consideration is network capacity and connection cost.
Ofgem, being fully aware of this obstacle to the UK's Net-Zero ambitions, has been working together with energy operators as part of its "Green Recovery Scheme" to review "shovel-ready net-zero" projects that could minimise the cost of not just rapid charge point hubs for EVs, but that could also support further growth in renewable generation and the decarbonisation of heat.
Under Ofgem's Green Recovery Scheme, the Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) in consultation with local authorities and other stakeholders (such as Network Rail and Sub-National Transport Bodies) submitted a range of net-zero investment proposals for Ofgem's assessment.
The type of works proposed include, for example, new substations, reinforced cabling, advanced monitoring equipment etc. and are all required to facilitate local, regional and national Net-Zero projects.
Ofgem have reviewed and assessed these projects based on a number of criteria, including:
• expected network utilisation, including how much of the additional network capacity was likely to be used;
• deliverability, specifically whether the proposals could be delivered in the remaining price control period; and
• value for money, including consideration of the cost of a proposal relative to the prospective utilisation (including the potential of the scheme to provide flexibility of other Distribution System Operator (DSO) services) and any wider benefits the scheme may deliver.
The proposed investments then underwent a shortlisting process against these criteria and Ofgem, following review, have accepted and committed to £300m of funding.
These projects, and Ofgem's commitment to continue to support further Net-Zero projects like these, is absolutely critical to enable not just the acceleration of EV charging infrastructure but also (and maybe, more importantly) equality of distribution.
Although seemingly not as headline-grabbing as other EV funded projects, this support from the regulator will be welcome news to the EV sector and, in particular, CPOs who are ready and willing to push the button on certain EV rapid charge point sites "but for" the existing capacity and connection cost hurdles currently being too high to overcome.
Energy regulator Ofgem has approved a £300m upgrade into expanding Britain’s electric vehicle charging network.