Energy Policy

The government has already taken a bit of a shellacking over this week’s long-awaited Road to Zero strategy for decarbonising road transport, with business groups, campaigners, and think tanks all lining up to say it should have set a more ambitious target for phasing out petrol and diesel cars. But yesterday saw perhaps the most pointed and significant criticism yet, as the government’s official watchdog the Committee on Climate Change accused Ministers of squandering the opportunity to deliver a sufficiently ambitious strategy. The government published the new strategy on Monday, setting out plans to reform building regulations to accelerate the roll out of electric vehicle charge points, invest in new charging infrastructure, and ban the sale of conventional petrol and diesel cars from 2040. Writing on BusinessGreen, Erik Fairbairn, CEO at charge point specialist POD Point, sums up the views of many: “As a country, we can be leaders in zero emission transport, but we need to challenge ourselves. This target is way too weak – the UK can do better. All new cars electric by 2030 is the target we need to ensure that the UK leads on this. After all, countries including India, Ireland, Norway and the Netherlands are already aiming for this date.”

Business Green 11th July 2018 read more »

As Theresa May has found out this week, you never know when you are about to hit a few political speedbumps. But cruising up the hard shoulder of the political agenda this week was the government’s plan to reduce emissions from road transport, with the publication of the Road to Zero strategy. This has never been more important. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) noted in its recent progress report that transport has “become the largest emitting sector of the UK economy, accounting for 28 per cent of UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2017”. Meanwhile, the government has recently lost another High Court case over their plans to tackle air pollution. Delivering on consumer choice is key to tackling this challenge: electric vehicles are not the only game in town and we need to ensure that our network infrastructure enables people to choose the vehicles best suited to them. We have already seen the number of electric vehicles on UK roads growing to approximately 146,000 plug-in cars and 5,200 plug-in vans. But it is not just electric vehicles whose uptake is motoring forward – so are those powered by renewable gas. Some of the country’s largest retailers like Asda, Waitrose and Argos are starting to run some of their vans and lorries on compressed natural gas, which emits a lot less carbon when blended with renewable biomethane. Network companies’ investment decisions will be influenced by the way that people use low carbon technologies, which include their EVs. Rather than simply opting to carry out traditional network reinforcement by default as they have done in the past, the companies will look at how to manage supply and demand in a smarter way, by comparing the cost of that work to using flexibility services such as vehicle-to-grid distributed technologies like solar PV and storage.

Business Green 12th July 2018 read more »

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Published: 12 July 2018