Electric vehicles sit at heart of UK Power Networks £4.5bn Business Plan

UK Power Networks is forecasting that up to 2.7 million electric vehicles (EVs) will be connected to its networks by 2028, up from just 150,000 in its regions today, as well as an additional 700,000 heat pumps over the same period.  

The network operator has published its draft £4.5 billion Business Plan with a raft of commitments including one to deliver a 10% reduction (in real terms) in its part of the energy bill whilst increasing investment in the electricity networks by 7%.

At the core of UK Power Networks’ strategy, is to have the flexibility to adapt so that the electricity network is an enabler of low carbon technologies like heat pumps and electric cars, regardless of the speed and scale that they are adopted by the public. Its Business Plan argues that this flexibility will avoid needless price increases for consumers to pay for assets that don’t get used. 

Under the Business Plan, UK Power Networks has included £4.5bn of investments that it is highly confident will be needed. It has forecast an additional £1.1bn of potential investment if the highest case scenario of people switching to electric vehicles and heat pumps, as defined by the Committee of Climate Change in its Sixth Carbon Budget, materialises.

As part of its ambition, UK Power Networks will encourage energy efficiency, network flexibility and using competitive markets powered by technology and data to encourage the use of electricity when it is cheaper and greener to do so.

Experts at the utility company have undertaken extensive consumer research and stakeholder engagement involving over 26,000 people across London, the East and South East, to create a Business Plan that delivers on their future needs and priorities. 

Key highlights include: 

  • Establishing a dedicated team to work with local authorities to develop local area energy plans that help communities to transition to Net Zero
  • Proposing innovative approaches to help unlock public on-street charging to tackle one of the key consumer barriers to buying an electric vehicle and ensuring fairness across all communities. This will increase the current levels of on-street public chargers by 25%
  • Setting an ambitious goal to achieve Net Zero in its own operations by 2028. It is the first network operator to get its plan verified by the Science Based Targets Initiative
  • A total of £67m worth of benefits to support customers experiencing fuel poverty and making clear commitments to play its part in delivering the UK’s Levelling up Goals as part of its Social Contract. 

Chief executive officer Basil Scarsella, said: “The 2020s will be a decade of transformative change in the energy system and in our society, as we decarbonise every aspect of our economy, and a time when Net Zero becomes real for millions of our customers. It will bring major change to the lifestyles of people and communities; from the way we refuel our vehicles to heating our homes and using energy wisely.

“That is why we have undertaken our most extensive ever consultation and engagement exercise, responding to what more than 26,000 people have told us and creating a Business Plan with customers and communities at its heart. I would like to invite anyone who would like to feed into our Business Plan, to view it online or attend one of our planned events to let us know what they think.”

The plan, which has been submitted to industry regulator Ofgem for consideration by December, is available online at https://ed2.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/

Image: Shutterstock

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