Electric Cars or Electric Heating … Can the UK have both?

Background

The UK government has provided the clearest indications that they are intending to accelerate the programme to reduce the country’s dependence on finite fossil fuels with their associated higher carbon emissions.

A report by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) says that from 2025 at the latest, no new homes should be connected to the gas grid – and should be constructed with super efficient houses and flats heated using low-carbon energy instead.

The assumption being that new houses will primarily be heated by renewably sourced electricity until other more innovative sources (including hydrogen) or more widely available.

The Big Question

The big question is however, will there be sufficient electricity generated to meet the increased combined demands for cars and domestic heating.

Even back in 2017 the National Grid identified that electric cars would fuel a huge demand for power, with peak electricity demand predicted to be more than the capacity of the planned Hinckley Point C nuclear power station by 2030.

This prediction was based upon the assumption that plug-in cars and vans could reach 9m by 2030 up from 90,000. With the projected further increase in electricity demand to meet UK residential heating usage, the question remains will there be sufficient electricity generated to meet these combined increased demands.!

Even if the thorny question of providing the infrastructure for charging electric cars has been solved, It is apparently still not evident that the UK’s National Grid would have the capacity in its system to support a nation full of EVs. It is also certainly not clear that there would be sufficient supply to meet the simultaneous demand for charging of cars overnight at the same time every evening, just when domestic heating requirements were being ramped up.

Any Answers?

Ofgem has sought to answer some of these questions and have made its own proposals to encourage flexible charging by providing incentives for customers to charge their electric vehicles at the right times (i.e. outside peak demand times on the grid). Their proposals would also help to keep energy costs down for all consumers as technology would allow stored electricity from electric vehicle batteries to be sent back onto the grid when it is needed.

Contact EES consultants for advice on sustainable design of dwellings. Why not join the debate.

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