Director (Strategy and Decarbonisation)
On Saturday I had the pleasure of being at Fully Charged Live to set out how Ofgem will support the rollout of electric vehicles in Britain. The scale of innovation on show was truly impressive, from electric tractors, lorries and buses, to cars, bikes and scooters. Not to mention the growing number of smart chargers and home energy storage options which could help provide flexibility to the grid.
For example, did you know that just ten Nissan Leaf cars contain enough energy to power 1000 homes for an hour?
You’ll have to excuse the pun but the sense of passion and excitement about this revolution in the way we use energy really was electrifying. At Ofgem we want to make sure that the electric vehicle rollout provides new opportunities for consumers to engage with the energy market through smart products and services.
The electric vehicle priorities we have set out make sure we not only reach the UK’s climate change targets but importantly offer ways to protect consumers from rising bills through increased use of electric vehicles, smart charging and vehicle-to-grid technology. These changes together can help drive down costs not just for the passionate early adopters of electric vehicles, but all GB bill payers.
By the time World EV Day 2030 rolls around in nine years’ time there are expected to be at least 10 million electric vehicles on the roads of Britain. Our priorities to help Britain make the transition as smoothly as possible include:
Preparing energy networks
Ofgem will ensure network capacity is in place to support the rollout of electric vehicles, with billions more in network investment expected as part of our next network price control. Investment is already taking place, with £300 million approved by Ofgem in May 2021, half of which will be used to develop EV infrastructure, including rapid charge points.
Easier network connections
Ofgem is proposing to bring down costs for large users, such as electric vehicle charging stations, of connecting to the grid where reinforcement is required. This is an important change that will enable a greater number of people to have access to charge points where they need them.
Maximising smart charging benefits
Smart charging electric vehicles at periods of low demand will enable EV owners to fuel their electric vehicles for less, and will make more efficient use of the system as a whole, saving money for everyone.
Vehicle-to-grid technologies will allow EV owners to earn money by exporting electricity back from their car battery to the grid when it is most needed. This will help reduce the amount of electricity generation needed at peak times. Exporting electricity through vehicle-to-grid, if combined with an uptake of smart charging, could reduce peak demand equivalent to the generation capacity of up to ten large nuclear power stations. This would reduce the overall cost of running the electricity system and help keep bills lower for all consumers, including those who do not own electric vehicles.
Helping drivers switch to electric vehicles
Ofgem will work with energy suppliers and innovators to make sure there are a range of products, services and tariffs for UK energy consumers to take advantage of. We will ensure consumer protections are updated to keep up with technological and business model change.