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News from the UK Power Industry 5th March 2019

Posted by: James Turner
Industry News

Drive for power industry and electric vehicles to work together

With the government aiming to phase-out the sale of new conventional vehicles by 2040, pressure is mounting for the automotive fleet industry to adopt electric vehicles (EVs), resulting in a need for more investment in battery charging and storage development and distribution.

Pixie Energy, strategic research facilitator for the power industry, has said that the gap between the power sector and the automotive fleet industry “needs to be bridged” if EVs are to be adopted by fleets on a large scale.

The company’s new insight paper identifies a need for policy-makers to make a clear case to encourage fleets to adopt EVs. The paper explains that the way to do this is to build communication between the fleet industry and the power sector so that fleets can capitalise on the advantages of EVs.

Tom Lusher, Pixie Energy analyst, says that fleets could lead the way on EV rollout if properly supported. “There is excellent potential for fleets to capitalise on EVs and the supporting infrastructural and regulatory and policy architecture being built around them,” Lusher explained.

 “Battery Electric Vehicles are expected to dominate as we head towards 2040. Early electrification of the fleet network could accelerate the achievement of the government’s objectives.” Lusher added.

The paper highlights that the way to facilitate the move is to address the commercial viability of EV chargers and, consequently, battery storage technology. UK Power Networks (UKPN) and delivery company UPS are currently taking part in a new pilot looking to demonstrate the effectiveness of wireless EV chargers. It is hoped that this will be a significant boost for the adoption of EVs in commercial fleets.

Navartis Business Manager and Power Recruitment Specialist James Turner commented: "It is great to see how the trend towards electric vehicles is triggering demand for investment in wireless battery charging technology and battery storage tech. An exciting new future for the power and energy sector." Full story.

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Nearly Half of 2018’s UK electricity supply was low-carbon

Thanks to modern wind turbines, a record 49.6% of electricity supplied in the UK last year was from low-carbon sources. And that percentage looks set to rise year-on-year as the low-carbon sector becomes more prominent in the industry.

Renewable energy, including bioenergy, wind, solar and hydro, accounted for a 27.5% of electricity supplied in 2018, up from 23.5% in 2017 which contributed to the low-carbon boost. 2018 saw a record amount of offshore wind farms installed; projects included the world’s largest operational offshore windfarm (Walney Extension in Cumbria) and the Rampion in Sussex.

“These are great statistics which show that renewables are playing a key role in our energy mix,” RenewableUK executive director Emma Pinchbeck commented. “Looking further ahead, we’re set to see a massive expansion in offshore wind in the next decade and beyond. We’re also seeing significant progress on battery storage alongside renewable energy projects, which adds to the flexibility of our clean technologies.” Full story.

MPs look into future of UK energy investment

An inquiry has been launched into the outlook for future investment in energy infrastructure. The inquiry offer reassurances following the suspension of two large-scale nuclear projects. In February, Hitachi halted work on their UK-based £21 billion nuclear power project in Britain on hold and Toshiba Corp. scrapped their NuGen project in 2018.

However, the industry is not discouraged as the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee is looking at whether the government needs a new approach in order to accelerate investment. The inquiry will examine ways of financing future nuclear plant new-builds and address concerns over foreign investors in the sector.

“In the wake of investment decisions over nuclear plants at sites such as Moorside and Wylfa, a giant hole has developed in UK energy policy,” said chair of the committee Rachel Reeves.

The committee has invited interested parties to put forward plans for possible solutions and new strategies. The closing date for submissions is 3rd April 2019. Full story.

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