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Mon, 30 November 2020

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Cleaner air under lockdown could be made permanent with action to decarbonise transport

Cleaner air under lockdown could be made permanent with action to decarbonise transport

Credit: EDF

Matt Allen, CEO, Pivot Power | EDF

4 min read Partner content

Air quality improvements under lockdown have provided a very real glimpse of what a clean, electric future could look like. Now is the time to make these changes permanent.

As the peak of the pandemic has passed, attention is turning to how we can rebuild our economy and tackle the climate emergency.

With decisive action, the government can create a green economic recovery that puts the UK on a clear and sustainable path to net zero.

Decarbonising transport and the electricity that powers it is critical.

Today is World EV Day which seems an important time to raise the profile of our electric future.

The transport sector accounts for around one third of UK carbon emissions and air quality improvements under lockdown have provided a very real glimpse of what a clean, electric future could look like. Now is the time to make these changes permanent and capitalise on a £24bn economic opportunity.

As a starting point, we would welcome the ban on new Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicle sales being brought forward to 2030. This would demonstrate global climate leadership in the run up to COP26, act as a stimulus for vehicle manufacturing and sales and align politicians with scientific advice and business support for an earlier ban.

Equally critical is the scaling of EV charging infrastructure to tackle ‘range anxiety’ and ensure easy access to charging facilities. The ability to charge quickly and reliably on the move will give many more drivers the confidence to go electric, while boosting the expansion of an entire EV service industry.

With this in mind, we were pleased to see the government outline its vision for a rapid charging network across England’s motorways and major A roads, which aims to deliver 6,000 high powered chargepoints capable of adding 100 miles plus of charge in minutes.  

But it’s vital to plan for the long-term, and build capacity now to meet demand as charging speeds improve and EV adoption scales.

One of the biggest challenges is getting large amounts of power to the right places.

Pivot Power’s plans for a nationwide network of grid-scale energy storage and high volume power connections is designed to support this roll-out, providing flexible, scalable power at specific locations to meet mass-scale, rapid charging needs.

We’re starting in Oxford with one of the most ambitious urban decarbonisation projects globally. Energy Superhub Oxford is creating a powerful charging network across the city to help businesses and drivers make the switch to electric.

An EV public superhub at one of Oxford’s Park & Rides will provide 50 charge points catering for a range of vehicles and speeds, so that visitors can charge in minutes or while they work or shop in the city. The network has the capacity to expand with EV adoption and provide power for local businesses seeking to electrify their fleets, from logistics companies to bus operators.

Policy certainty is vital to moving any market forward and we hope to see more measures coming through that support the decarbonisation of transport, so we can all drive electric and breathe clean air.

The network shares a connection to National Grid’s high voltage transmission network with a 50MW battery storage system, helping our electricity network to make more use of renewable energy from the wind and sun. This means that as more EVs hit the road, we can increase the amount of low carbon electricity powering them and accelerate Oxford’s journey to zero carbon.

As part of EDF Renewables UK, our aim is to replicate this model at 40 sites throughout the UK, supporting greater renewable generation and delivering power where and when it is needed.

Decarbonising transport though means that we need to continue to decarbonise our energy as well and power EVs with electricity generated through low carbon means – such as through nuclear power and renewables. We have already made great progress in decarbonising our energy by around half in the last two decades but now we must pay the same attention to transport.

We’re pleased that government are looking seriously at EVs and the essential infrastructure that underpins them.

Policy certainty is vital to moving any market forward and we hope to see more measures coming through that support the decarbonisation of transport, so we can all drive electric and breathe clean air.

 

 

 

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