Khan’s EV fund could transform “underinvested” power network

“Brave” new fund should spur network investments to support electric vehicle charging, hopes trade body

A new fund launched this week to boost the number of electric vehicle (EV) charging points in the capital should turn around an “underinvested” power network, according to the National Federation of Builders (NFB).

The trade body said its members have become increasing concerned in recent years at the “excessive” burden of responsibility placed on developers to “improve the utility companies’ under-invested network”.

NFB policy advisor Rico Wojtulewicz explained to Utility Week that local authorities have put increasing pressure on developers to install EV charging points in order to support their ambitions on air quality.

However, developers have found that local distribution networks lack the capacity to install these points. “The consequence of that is that developers have to install new substations,” said Wojtulewicz.

He added that this problem has been most noticeable in the capital, but that the NFB expects it to be a rising issue for developers around the UK. He said it was unreasonable for developers to be expected to shoulder this investment burden.

The new £4.5m fund to boost the number of EV charging points, announced by London mayor Sadiq Khan, will provide grants of up to £300,000 to local authorities in the capital and NFB said it should help to expose capacity issues, thereby encouraging network investment.

The NFB’s chief executive Richard Beresford added: “We are very pleased to see Khan’s funding tackle a growing problem and we hope other cities, towns and councils are brave enough follow his lead.”

Responding to NFB's concerns, the Energy Networks Association (ENA) emphasized that network companies do not own charging infrastructure and "where network reinforcement is required for a housing development the regulatory framework is cost reflective and designed to ensure fairness for all energy bill payers".

An ENA spokesperson added: "Typically, developers pay the cost for any reinforcement of infrastructure necessary for their project and where a third party later uses this infrastructure, costs are retrospectively shared with the initial contributor.

"In the next six years alone networks are forecast to deliver £45bn of investment across the UK, underpinning the economy, enabling new housing developments and providing a platform to increased electric vehicle ownership."

 

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