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Project PACE set to save taxpayers £2.6m says SPEN

Cabinet secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson. Image: SPEN.

Cabinet secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson. Image: SPEN.

SP Energy Networks’ (SPEN) electric vehicle (EV) partnership with the Scottish government is set to save taxpayers £2.6 million.

Project PACE will see around 180 EV chargers installed around North and South Lanarkshire at more than 40 charging hubs, increasing the number of public chargers in the areas by over 200%. The project will increase the number of public chargers in Scotland by 14% by the time it is completed in April 2021.

The additional c.10MW of EV charging capacity will be able to accommodate 5,000 more vehicles in Lanarkshire than currently available.

If Project PACE was rolled out throughout the UK, taxpayer savings could increase to as much as £310 million according to SPEN, creating a world leading EV charging network and ensuring there is the electricity infrastructure needed to support it.

Scott Mathieson, director of Network Planning and Regulation at SPEN said creating publicly available charging locations is “vital” to meeting net zero targets, adding that the network company is proud to be leading the way with Project PACE.

“SPEN invested £500,000 in the optioneering phase to ensure we chose optimum locations for the project, which will be of most use for drivers and help deliver substantial savings for the communities we serve.

“Project PACE is a blueprint for a more successful collaborative rollout of public EV chargers. The learnings from this trial could be applied across other areas of the country to ensure every local community has access to EV charging points which will help boost a green economic recovery. No community should be left behind in the transition to net zero.”

All of the sites involved were carefully selected through a study funded by SP Energy Networks Green Economy Fund, looking at electricity networks and customers, as well as working collaboratively with local stakeholders.

They are designed to make effective use of the existing electricity network, and as such Project PACE is expected to achieve between £30,000 and £60,000 average savings on electricity grid connection costs per new location. Between the 40 sites, this equates to a total saving of £1.3 million to £2.6 million of taxpayer money.

If this was expanded across all of Scotland, it could save as much as £26 million of taxpayer money.

Cabinet secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said the Electric Vehicle Strategic Partnership – which includes the Scottish government, Transport Scotland, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks and SPEN – is “transforming” the way charging infrastructure is deployed and deliver in Scotland.

“It’s very welcome news that the £500,000 investment from SP Energy Networks Green Economy Fund, has helped inform SP Energy Networks led optimised site selection equating to potential savings of up to £2.6 million in taxpayer money.

“This effective partnership working, using specialist knowledge, is radically improving the speed, effectiveness and efficiency of the rollout of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. This is key to responding to the climate emergency and transitioning to a net-zero economy, as we seek to phase out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032.”

The first EV charging hub from Project PACE was open at Strathclyde Country Park in August, and according to SPEN it has already been used over 1,700 times in just 11 weeks.

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