Energising the path to net zero

Energising the path to net zero

By Jayson Whitaker, Managing Director, EA Networks

There’s been a lot of focus of late on the UK’s commitment to net zero, notably around delaying the ban on new petrol and diesel car sales from 2030 until 2035. At the same time, there’s speculation that the decision to prohibit the installation of gas boilers in new build homes, scheduled by 2025, is still to be baked in.

Both signals are important because they could potentially impact investment plans, whether that’s in automotive or housebuilding, and even dent the milestone achievements needed to hit net zero by 2050. At the heart of the challenge for both sectors is electrification – through a transition to battery electric vehicles in the case of car makers, and to heat pumps for housebuilders…and the signs are that businesses are making progress.

For both these sectors, Independent Distribution Network Operators, such as EA Networks (EA N), can be a positive force in helping connect the power networks and technologies that will move the needle towards a low carbon future.

Our 100,000 connections milestone

At EA N, we’re playing our part, and will shortly reach an important milestone. Soon, we’ll have more than 100,000 connections under ownership, energising housing developments, EV charging hubs, data centres and multiple commercial schemes across Britain – including landmark developments such as St. John’s, a new Manchester neighbourhood project.

This success reflects the role we can play with customers in enabling a more energy efficient and sustainable future.

Take electric vehicles for example. Although the ban on new petrol and diesel cars has been delayed, the overall percentage of EV sales automotive manufacturers are mandated by government to achieve hasn’t changed. Next year, 22% of vehicles sold must still be electric…80% by 2030. So, the industry impetus to grow EV adoption remains, which means, of course, that demand for charge point infrastructure will also continue to accelerate.

Innovation in network design and management

At EA N, we’re partnering with major charge point operators across Britain. Our most recent success will see the adoption of a major EV charging hub at Oxford Services, taking on ownership of connections to support an extensive facility with ultra-rapid capability (up to 350kW).

Our expertise in network design ensures that appropriate cabling and substations are specified to manage current and future loads at each charge point site. At the same time, our inhouse legal team and competitive asset values enable operators to build out locations quickly and cost-effectively.

We’re also at the forefront of innovation for housebuilders and commercial property developers, with our smart cabinets providing the granular network performance data needed to run dynamic load management systems. And on constrained sites, we’ve proven how artificial intelligence can be used to manage loads to avoid costly grid reinforcement.

All this innovation ensures that technologies such as solar, battery storage, heat pumps, EV charge points, vehicle-to-grid, and vehicle-to-load (to connected appliances) exports can work in harmony. Alongside our customers, we’re focused on optimising energy efficiency, while contributing to security and sustainability at a local network level in residential, industrial, commercial, and mixed-use settings.

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