Energy regulator Ofgem has announced a £300 million package of investment for low-carbon projects to prepare Britain for more electric transport and greener sources of heat.
The investment is designed to support the electric vehicle revolution, with money spent on cabling for motorway service areas and critical trunk road locations across the country.
Once cabled, these locations will be able to provide 1,800 new ultra-rapid charging points, tripling the capacity of the current electric vehicle charging network.
The investment will also support a further 1,750 charging points in towns and cities.
With more drivers making the switch from petrol or diesel engine cars to electric vehicles, a massive upgrade is needed to support growing demand for electricity.
Over the next two years, the £300 million investment will be delivered as part of a broader plan to create the energy infrastructure Britain needs to support a move to low carbon transport and heating while maintaining secure energy supplies.
The total investment is expected to be more than £40 billion, through Ofgem’s regulation of energy networks.
204 net-zero projects will initially take place in England, Scotland and Wales, starting this year.
Ofgem research found that 36% of households do not intend to get an electric vehicle and are deterred from making the switch due to a lack of charging points near their home.
This so-called ‘range anxiety’ will be addressed through an extensive motorway charging network and more charging points in cities and near railway stations.
Cities including Glasgow, Kirkwall, Warrington, Llandudno, York and Truro will benefit from increased network capacity supporting more ultra-rapid charging stations, increased renewable energy generation, and the move to electric heating for homes and businesses.
The investment also covers more rural areas with charging points for commuters at train stations in North and Mid Wales and the electrification of the Windermere ferry.
Jonathan Brearley, chief executive of Ofgem, said:
“This £300 million down payment is just the start of building back a greener energy network which will see well over £40 billion of investment in Britain’s energy networks in the next seven years.
“The payment will support the rapid take up of electric vehicles which will be vital if Britain is to hit its climate change targets. Drivers need to be confident that they can charge their car quickly when they need to. We’re paving the way for the installation of 1,800 ultra-rapid charge points, tripling the number of these public charge points. Drivers will have more charging options for longer journeys.
“In the year that Glasgow hosts the COP26 climate summit, the energy networks are rising to the challenge and working with us and partners to accelerate projects that can start now, benefiting consumers, boosting the economy and creating jobs.”
Rachel Maclean, Transport Minister, said:
“I warmly welcome today’s news from Ofgem, which will greatly improve the resilience of our charging network as we build back greener.
“With more than 500,000 electric cars now on UK roads, this will help to increase this number even further as drivers continue to make the switch to cleaner, greener vehicles.”