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Examining the road to net zero on World EV Day

09 Sep 2021

To mark World EV today SSEN Distribution’s EV Readiness Manager Richard Hartshorn, highlights a few of the initiatives our Networks business is undertaking to accelerate a fair transition to a low-carbon transport system.

As the UK’s transport sector accounts for around a third of UK carbon emissions, our initiatives are crucial in supporting the transition to net zero. With the ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles from 2030 we are entering a critical decade for ensuring our network is EV-ready. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) forecasts the UK’s current provision of 25,000 public electric vehicle (EV) chargepoints will need to increase tenfold by 2030.

Here's just some of the work we are undertaking.

  • Supporting a fair transition - We were the first network operator in the UK, alongside Disabled Motoring UK to examine the challenges and barriers drivers and motorists with disabilities and vulnerabilities face in the uptake of EVs with Equal EV. The project has completed the first research phase and is now leveraging the Energy Systems Catapult’s expertise to define the customer journey, how can we work with third parties to provide solutions to the barriers they face, and how we should evolve our services in future to ensure vulnerable customers don't get left behind.
  • Participating in the world’s largest (and best titled) commercial EV project - We are taking part in Optimise Prime, which is examining and developing develop practical ways of overcoming the challenges and connection costs that are holding back many of the country’s biggest commercial vehicle operators from making the switch to EVs.
  • Preparing popular tourist destinations for an EV world - Late last year we released E-tourism, which examined the impacts of EV-tourism on eight popular tourist destinations throughout Scotland and found tourists’ EVs could cause a 10x increase in electricity network demand in some of Scotland’s most popular destinations. We have taken the learnings from the project and are now conducting a similar study for the Isle of Wight with an additional consideration of practical solutions to mitigate seasonal tourist peak EV demand – stay tuned for more updates in the coming months!
  • Collaborating to prepare the network for EVs - Alongside UK Power Networks, we are leading a cross-industry project called Skyline with car dealerships, chargepoint operators and electricity networks. Through proactive data sharing, it will provide us with early notifications of EVs connecting to our networks which will help us to identify and target investments in plenty of time to support households switching to EVs.
  • Making the connection process easier - We are launching a tool which will enable bulk uploading of connections for EVs and heat pumps into our automated online connections portal, helping facilitate an easier and more efficient connection process for low carbon technologies.
  • Enabling EVs to participate in the energy system in new and exciting ways - As part of the ambitious smart-grid trials being run with Project Local Energy Oxfordshire (LEO), we are examining how smart-charging and vehicle-to-X technology can be used efficiently and cost-effectively to provide flexibility and power alternatives for users.
  • Preparing our network for the EV switch - In our draft Business Plan for the next distribution price control period, RIIO-ED2 (2023-2028), we are aiming to facilitate the connection of up to 1.3 million EVs by 2028, and are proposing to spend over £4.1 billion to make it as smooth an experience as possible for our customers.
  • And finally decarbonising our own vehicles - As part of SSE Group, we are a signatory of the Climate Group’s EV100 commitment and have committed to swapping 3,500 petrol and diesel vehicles for EVs by 2030.

Alongside our ambitious draft ED2 plan, we are strongly supporting the principle of Universal Service Provision. This means ensuring there is sufficient public charging infrastructure for those in rural areas alongside those without access to off-street parking to make the switch to EVs.

The transition to EVs provides an opportunity to manage the energy system in a smarter and flexible way, improving air quality and the environment for the households, businesses, and communities we serve. SSEN is at the forefront of enabling this transition as part of the net zero future.

Happy EV day everyone!