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REA appoints EV sector group chair following call to local authorities

EV charging Getty

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has appointed Sweco UK’s Vijay Shinde as chair of its electric vehicle (EV) sector group to represent the member’s views within the association.

Shinde is Sweco’s grid services lead and brings 17 years’ experience in delivering specialist technical and regulatory advice on project delivery across the UK’s energy sector.

Prior to his time at Sweco, he worked for EDF Energy as a high voltage design engineer before joining Senergy Econnect, where he delivered electrical design and due diligence for pan European projects.

“I am passionate about delivering renewable energy infrastructure, and my focus will be on developing new implementation strategies together with pushing for reform on 'smart' charging to ensure EVs are an attractive choice for the public,” he said.

He will serve for no more than a 12 month term heading up the REA’s EV Sector Group, which consists of over 50 members ranging from financers to project developers and equipment manufacturers.

The appointment marks the next step in the association’s efforts in the EV space, having established an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Electric and Automated Vehicles earlier this year, chaired by the former secretary of state for Wales, Dame Cheryl Gillan MP.

Commenting on the appointment, Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, chief executive of the REA, said: “The appointment of Vijay is an indication that the EV group is maturing.

“The group works closely with our other ‘clean tech’ sectors, including the Renewable Transport Fuels Group, Large-Scale Power and Markets, UK Solar, and UK Energy Storage.

“Taken as a whole, the association is able to speak to the wider changes taking place in the energy sector, including the need for regulations to unlock a greater system ‘flexibility’ and the need for a clear, stable policy regime.”

Vijay Shinde. Image: REA.
Vijay Shinde. Image: REA.

Further calls for local authority action

Most recently the REA published a report calling on local authorities to champion EVs and install charging points, despite much debate emerging this year as to how they will be able to do so in the face of limited funding.

EV lead Daniel Brown explained to Current±: “Our discussions indicate that Local Authorities have a role to play in EV infrastructure deployment but councillors and officers are often time and resources-constrained.

“This guide was created with the intention of addressing the gap between some councillors’ and officers’ levels of interest and their levels of knowledge, and with the ultimate goal of supporting greater (and pragmatically-located) chargepoint deployment.”

The report outlines the grants and finance schemes available to support take-up of EVs, including the on-street residential scheme which grabbed headlines earlier this year when government ministers Claire Perry and Jesse Norman claimed it was underutilised by councils.

However in its first year the fund offered just £1.5 million to over 400 principal councils, attracting interest from just four councils. This has now increased to £4.5 million to 2020, in comparison to £35 million that was handed to a small number of locations under the Go Ultra Low Cities scheme.

By contrast, the Local Government Association said earlier this year that councils should not be expected to replace petrol stations with EV chargers when faced with a £12 billion backlog in road repairs and an overall local authority funding gap of £5.8 billion by 2020.

In response, Brown added: “Clearly gaps remain between where we need to be in the coming decade, and where we are now. In time EV charging will become a more financially attractive proposition. Government support schemes at present remain important for supporting rollout.”

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