The GMB is calling for the Government and Ofgem to reassure the public that the costs of setting up electric vehicle charging points at motorway service stations across the country won’t be passed on to household billpayers.
National Grid recently said it would support the government bringing forward its 2040 ban on new petrol and diesel car sales by a decade.
The company, which runs the UK’s national electricity network and wants to build superfast car charging points at motorway services, told MPs it could cope with the demands of an earlier surge in electric car numbers – but didn’t say who would pay for the new infrastructure.
National Grid has forecast up to 35 million pure electric vehicles will be on the roads by 2050.
That scenario sees peak demand from electric vehicles rising by 30 gigawatts — the equivalent of 10 Hinkley Point power stations — adding to a current peak demand of 61GW.
A separate National Grid Report from March 2018 says gas will be fundamental to any realistic future energy scenario and that it is not feasible to switch over to electric heating on the scale required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 per cent of 1990 levels by the middle of this century.
The report says that a move to electric heating would require a seven fold increase in the capacity of the grid to 290 gigawatts, emphasising the future importance of gas and the need for our own independent gas supply.
For the 12 months from 7 March 2017, every one in 5.6 days was a low wind day (65 days in total) when the output of the installed and connected wind turbines in the UK produced less than 10% of their installed and connected capacity for more than half of the day.
For 341 days in the year, solar output was below 10% of installed capacity for more than half of the day.
Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary, said:
“When National Grid wraps up a warm welcome to the end of sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040 with vital upgrades to motorway service station electricity infrastructure, it is not being upfront.
“What National Grid fails to make clear is that as Ofgem guidelines stand, it could be household energy bill payers who are hit with the huge costs of installing sufficient electric vehicle (EV) charging points into all the country’s motorway service stations.
“National Grid needs to be straight and stop using its support for an early ban on new petrol and diesel car sales as a Trojan horse for extra taxpayer cash to pay for ‘expensive’ and ‘difficult to co-ordinate’ new charging infrastructure.
“When Grid says the more rapid roll out of EV’s ‘could be facilitated by the close alignment of the transmission and motorway networks’, what they really mean is with some extra cash.
“GMB is saying very loudly and very clearly to Goverment and Ofgem - make clear now that the costs of upgrading the electricity grid to Britain’s motorway service stations with sufficient electric vehicle charging points will not fall on household energy bill payers.”