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UKPN launches cross-sector low carbon tech group to broaden EV uptake

UK Power Networks (UKPN) has unveiled a cross-sector vehicle to foster low carbon conversations, collaboration, and ultimately accelerate the uptake of green transport across the south and east of England.

The Low Carbon Technology Customer Group will initially engage a range of trade bodies and individuals – spanning sectors from social housing landlords to emergency services, leisure and retail development owners, farmers and even caravan and camping destinations – to identify common decarbonisation challenges.

Distributor of electricity to some eight million homes and businesses, UPKN will subsequently approach the owners and managers of destination venues, property landlords and business workplaces who have long-term plans to install low carbon technology, such as solar energy generation or electric vehicle charging hubs, to devise solutions. These could range from sector-specific toolkits to targeted network investment programmes.

Adam Lakey, stakeholder engagement manager at UKPN, explained that the firm is seeking to help anyone who might be thinking about decarbonising existing property assets but was unsure of who to speak to.

“We’re looking for input from organisations like ambulance trusts or fire brigades to campsites or shopping destinations; anyone who knows that at some point over the next five-to-10 years they want to install low carbon technology like EV chargers or solar panels but doesn’t yet know how to go about it,” he said.

“We can offer advice and expertise about how to go about it in the most cost-effective way. For example, if you install solar panels and then add electric vehicle charge points it may work out cheaper than upgrading your electricity supply for the charge points then adding solar power later.

“We know there’s a vast range of existing buildings, developments and organisations that want to decarbonise,” Lakey continued. “By starting a conversation with us through this new group we can help people do it more easily, quickly and cost-efficiently.”

UKPN is forecasting the number of electric vehicles connected to its networks will increase almost tenfold in the next five years, from 310,000 now to 2.6m in 2028.

Last year, the firm launched its Green Recovery programme, an opportunity to address climate change by kick-starting 86 green energy infrastructure projects. In total, £66m is being invested, including enabling 11 motorway service areas to install more than 600 ultra-fast 150kW chargers.