There could be up to 4.5 million electric vehicles (EVs) and over 700,000 electric heat pumps by 2030 across London, the east and south east.
This is according to UK Power Networks’ (UKPN) 2021 Distribution Future Energy Scenarios research, which looked at the future take up of low carbon technology. It examined four different scenario worlds out to 2050, with bespoke regional modelling and data analysis from Element Energy.
One of these scenarios saw over 3,000% growth in EVs and 2,500% rise in domestic heat pumps by 2030. UKPN said the government’s ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030, alongside prices of EVs continuing to fall could help accelerate the sales of new EVs.
These figures would keep the UK on track to reach its 2050 net zero target, meanwhile a more ambitious scenario – Leading the Way – reaches net zero two years early by 2048. This scenario predicts 4.2 million fewer cars overall on roads than within other scenarios, with public transport being a more popular choice. It also sees a faster rollout of heat pumps, reaching 1.2 million in UKPN’s service areas by 2030.
Another scenario sees slowing economic growth but still results in a quarter of a million household having solar panels installed, aggregate grid scale battery storage capacity more than doubling that of the UK’s largest nuclear power station and a move towards a zero carbon hydrogen gas grid.
Sul Alli, director of customer services, strategy and regulation at UKPN, said the distribution network operator is “determined to be at the forefront in our industry”, with the government’s Ten Point Plan signalling “an acceleration of the UK’s transition to a net zero carbon economy”.
Within this plan, Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out an ambitious target of 600,000 heat pump installations annually by 2028, whilst earlier this week the government released more detail on the Future Homes Standard, stating that it anticipates “that heat pumps will become the primary heating technology for new homes”.
It comes in the same month that Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) released similar research, finding that across the north of Scotland and central southern England the number of EVs is likely to increase to over 5 million by 2050. It also found that the number of heat pumps will grow from 32,000 now to over 2.47 million.