NIC welcomes Ofgem proposals on preparing network for electric vehicles

National Infrastructure Commission chair John Armitt has welcomed moves by energy regulator Ofgem to prepare the UK’s electricity network for the onset of electric vehicles.

Ofgem has set out proposals to take forward reforms to support millions of new electric vehicles forecast on Britain’s roads in the coming decades while keeping costs down for their users and all energy consumers.

A more flexible use of the energy system will allow more electric vehicles to be charged from the existing grid and reduce the need for expensive new power stations and extra grid capacity to be built.

Armitt said the proposed initiatives would help ensure current grid capacity is used to maximum effect, and would contribute towards meeting one of the key recommendations from the UK’s first-ever National Infrastructure Assessment. 

Ofgem’s proposals include offering incentives to drivers to charge their electric vehicles at certain times, often when renewables like wind and solar power are generating the most power, or when there is lower demand on the energy system.  

This was a key recommendation from the recently launched National Infrastructure Assessment, but the assessment also recommended that national and local government work with Ofgem to help develop a national charging network, giving drivers certainty that they will be able to charge their cars quickly wherever they are in the country.

NIC chair, John Armitt, said: “Our National Infrastructure Assessment highlights the need to take steps now to prepare our roads and our energy system for greater demand for electric vehicles. These proposals have the potential to reap the benefits that electric vehicles can bring to the electricity system by ensuring we make the most efficient use of the electricity we already have available, including from renewable sources – and all while keeping costs down for customers.  We look forward to seeing the outcome of this consultation.

“But we also need to see investment in a truly national, visible charging network, so that infrastructure can give drivers the confidence to make the switch from petrol and diesel, and not be the barrier.”

According to Ofgem’s research, flexible charging can allow at least 60% more electric vehicles to be charged. Reforms will keep costs down and harness benefits to energy system say the regulator and a more flexible use of the grid will also accommodate more renewable generation and other new technologies.

Click here to view details of Ofgem’s proposals.

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