The National Grid is supportive of bringing the Government’s 2040 deadline to stop the sale of new conventionally-powered petrol and diesel cars forward by 10 years.
Graham Cooper, National Grid project director electric vehicles, was giving evidence to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee yesterday (Tuesday, March 27).
He was asked by the committee if the 2040 deadline was ambitious enough to help drive electric vehicle (EV) uptake and infrastructure investment and changes, with the example given that Scotland has a deadline of 2032.
Cooper told the committee: “A deadline of 2030 would still give us enough time to cope with any changes that need to be made.
“We would support a more ambitious target. It provides a clear focus and allows the networks industry to respond appropriately. Even if you left the 2040 target in place, I think the number of people still buying a conventional petrol or diesel car before that deadline will be a short list.
“It’s important on a world stage that the UK matches our neighbours. Norway is the most ambitious with a target of 2025.”
Manufacturers are expected to have moved to offer hybrid and EV versions of their product ranges way before the 2040 deadline, with many companies already outlining their model plans from 2019 onwards.
While Andrew Burgess, Ofgem associate partner, energy systems integration, did not go as far as to say the regulator would support a 2030 deadline, he did say it would cope if it was brought forward.
He said: “The deadline target is a matter for elected politicians. It signals a direction… but the key lesson is that everyone has to be ready to react quickly.
“We would fit in with whatever target was given, but what we need is clarity from Government.”
Cooper said there would not have to be “significant changes” made to invest in National Grid infrastructure to cope with the expected projections of nine million EVs on the UK’s roads by 2030. He said the network would have to scale up from a peak demand of 60 gigawatts today to 75 gigawatts by 2030.
He said managing peak demand could also be reduced by incentivising consumers to charge off-peak and using smart monitoring technology.
Those giving evidence at the committee agreed that data from people charging their cars needs to be used so energy and infrastructure providers can plan for the ebbs and flows of demand from EV charging.
Stewart Reid, chair of the Energy Networks Association Low Carbon Technologies Working Group, said there is a lot of diversity in how, where and when people charge their cars, but data needs to be used to help inform energy management and where infrastructure investment is needed most.
He said: “We need to understand the capacity we have in a lot more detail, down to individual street level. The way we monitor this hasn’t changed much in the last 30 years.”
Reid also said data from battery storage technology in people’s garages/houses and solar panels would also need to be factored in when looking at managing demand.
He said: “If you want to move fast, you need to be investing ahead of need.
“But it has to be done on an intelligent and informed basis. It means extensive engagement with regional authorities. Engaging with different locations, understanding aspirations and understanding where they’re going, with full evidenced cases ahead of need.”