UK Power Networks (UKPN) has launched a new programme designed to accelerate the uptake of low-carbon transport such as electric vehicles (EVs).
The Low Carbon Technology Customer Group will see the network operator initially approach the owners and managers of destination venues, property landlords and business workplaces across its network area who are planning to install low-carbon technologies.
“We want to help anyone who might be thinking about decarbonising their existing property asset but doesn’t know who to speak to,” said Adam Lakey, stakeholder engagement manager at UKPN.
“We’re looking for input from organisations like ambulance trusts or fire brigades to campsites or shopping destinations; anyone who knows that at some point over the next five-10 years they want to install low-carbon technology like EV chargers or solar panels but doesn’t yet know how to go about it.”
In approaching these organisations, UKPN hopes to identify common challenges across groups and sectors, in particular as up until now businesses haven’t often had to work with their local energy distributor. Once common challenges are identified, it can work to design practical solutions.
These solutions could range from sector-specific toolkits to targeted, co-ordinated network investment programmes.
“We can offer advice and expertise about how to go about it in the most cost-effective way. For example, if you install solar panels and then add electric vehicle charge points it may work out cheaper than upgrading your electricity supply for the charge points then adding solar power later,” continued Lakey.
UKPN is expecting the number of EVs in its area to increase almost tenfold in the next five years, from 310,000 now to 2.6 million in 2028. Between 2020 and 2021, the operator saw the number of chargepoints on its network increase by 42%.
To facilitate the chargepoints required to meet this demand, the network operator has already begun working to ease grid connections and expand capacity. This includes looking to use innovative technologies as well as traditional grid upgrades, such as Active Response software which it found made it possible for over 500 EV chargers to be connected around a single electricity substation in a trial in 2021.