Energy regulator Ofgem has approved a £ 300 million upgrade for the expansion of the UK’s electric vehicle charging network.
The watchdog said the funding – which is part of a broader £ 40 billion pledge – will go to more than 200 low-carbon projects to help the country prepare for more electric transport.
Ofgem said it will partially support the installation of cables needed to launch “1,800 new ultra-fast charging points” at service areas along the highway, tripling the current network.
It added that experts will also install an additional 1,750 charging points in cities across the UK. In addition to highways, cities and train stations will also see greater network capacity to support more charging points.
“The funding will support the rapid introduction of electric vehicles, which will be vital if Britain is to meet its climate change goals,” said Jonathan Brearley, CEO of Ofgem.
“Drivers need to be confident that they can charge their car quickly when needed.” Ofgem will lead the upgrade with the help of investments from the Energy Networks Association (ENA), which represents the energy network companies of the UK and Ireland.
According to Ofgem, the investment, which will take place over the next two years, reflects how UK’s cables, substations and other infrastructure “need a massive upgrade” to meet growing demand.
Places like Glasgow, Kirkwall, Warrington, Llandudno, York and Truro will benefit from increased network capacity thanks to the investment, the regulator said.
“In the year Glasgow hosts the COP26 climate summit, the energy networks are taking up the challenge and working with us and partners to accelerate projects that can start now, to the benefit of consumers, boosting the economy and job creation, ”added Brearley.
Transport Minister Rachel Maclean welcomed the news from Ofgem and said it would improve the resilience of the country’s charging network as we build back greener.
“With more than 500,000 electric cars now on UK roads, this will help drive this number even further as drivers continue to move to cleaner, greener vehicles,” she added.
Meanwhile, David Smith, CEO of Energy Networks Association (ENA), said the industry body is pleased to have been able to highlight such a crucial factor for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s green recovery ambitions.
“To bring about a green recovery for seas, skies and streets, more than £ 300 million in electricity distribution network investments will enable broad-based projects that help tackle some of our biggest net zero challenges, such as fear of electric vehicles and decarbonising heavier transportation. ”he said.
“This new funding shows that the social, economic and environmental benefits of the industry can foster close collaboration with a flexible regulator.” Last week, Ofgem released a report showing that about one in four households in the UK plan to buy an electric car or plug-in hybrid in the next five years.
And last February, the energy regulator published its “Decarbonisation Action Plan” outlining how energy infrastructure should change to accommodate more electric vehicles and low-carbon heating systems.