Three key Hampshire sites will receive a combined £16m of investment to accelerate a green economic recovery, creating capacity for local decarbonisation ambitions and to support the delivery of the electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure critical for the transition to net zero:
- Over £9.6m will be invested in Rownhams to create 30MW of extra capacity, supporting the delivery of EV charge hubs in a key strategic area for the UK’s EV charging network
- £3.6m of investment in North Baddesley to reinforce over 4km of overhead line and 100 metres of underground cable to support the village’s net zero ambitions
- Over 5.5MW of additional capacity will be created in Bishop’s Waltham to prepare the network for households and businesses shifting to low-carbon technologies. The £2.9m works will reinforce over 5km of overhead line and 1km of underground cable.
This comes as Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution is set to undertake £41 million of strategic investment in its electricity networks to support a green economic recovery and accelerate key low-carbon projects across the north of Scotland and central southern England.
The scheme, which will unlock over 122MW of additional capacity, is a result of close collaboration with Ofgem and other electricity network operators to understand how early investment in the distribution network could drive green economic growth, create skilled jobs, and support the deployment of low-carbon projects.
As part of the scheme, SSEN will also install approximately 1,000 low voltage monitors at key points across SSEN’s distribution network areas, providing near real-time visibility in areas where high levels of electricity demand from increased uptake of electric vehicles and electric heating is predicted.
This will enable the network operator to better manage local infrastructure, identifying how best to optimise capacity.
The multimillion-pound investment in Hampshire’s infrastructure will support local and national decarbonisation ambitions, creating capacity for two charging hubs at the Rownhams Motorway Service Area.
Range anxiety, and access to chargepoints, remains one of the key barriers to EV uptake. Increasing the availability of chargepoints will be critical in securing a green economic recovery, improving consumer confidence in the transition and make EVs a practical choice for those without off-street parking.
SSEN’s plans are part of a £300m programme of investment announced last month by the energy regulator Ofgem.
Chris Burchell, Managing Director, SSEN Distribution, said: “We are determined to play our full part in addressing the twin challenges of the economic and social recovery from coronavirus and the impending climate emergency, where local electricity networks will play a vital role. With COP26 on the horizon, today’s investment demonstrates how collaborative action and regulatory flexibility can help us achieve this aim and power change for our customers and society.
“The green recovery scheme provides a blueprint for future agile investment in our networks in the coming years, where rapid progress will be required to keep pace with net zero. By undertaking £40 million in strategic network investment now, we are helping unlock innovative low-carbon projects at the right time, boosting local economies and supporting communities to achieve their net zero ambitions.”
Jonathan Brearley, chief executive of Ofgem, said: “This £300 million down payment is just the start of building back a greener energy network which will see well over £40 billion of investment in Britain’s energy networks in the next seven years.
“The payment will support the rapid take up of electric vehicles which will be vital if Britain is to hit its climate change targets. Drivers need to be confident that they can charge their car quickly when they need to. We’re paving the way for the installation of 1,800 ultra-rapid charge points, tripling the number of these public charge points. Drivers will have more charging options for longer journeys.
“In the year that Glasgow hosts the COP26 climate summit, the energy networks are rising to the challenge and working with us and partners to accelerate projects that can start now, benefiting consumers, boosting the economy and creating jobs.”