Cumbria Chamber of Commerce believes it is critical that the Government upgrades the National Grid to increase its electrical output capability and remove a key stumbling block in the county’s aim of reaching net zero by 2030.
The chamber is calling for the Government to prioritise the issue after a recently published Cumbria chargepoint report highlighted the lack of available local grid capacity as a crucial barrier to installing the necessary number of electric vehicle chargepoints.
The report by Cumbria Action For Sustainability (CAfS) said that around 9,000 could be needed across the county by 2030.
A recent chamber round-table event with businesses discussing the proposed Lake District National Park Partnership’s 2020-2025 Management Plan agreed with the issue of the region’s electricity supply not being sufficient.
Several business leaders said in the meeting that when they had looked to invest in greener technology such as installing EV chargepoints they were told the local grid did not have the capacity to facilitate them.
The chamber’s managing director Suzanne Caldwell said: “The majority of business owners and entrepreneurs in Cumbria are on board with the green agenda and looking at how their businesses can become more environmentally friendly.
“There is a lot of rhetoric coming from the Government, which we saw at last month’s G7 summit in Cornwall, and around the UK hosting of the UN’s COP26 later this year but we’re not seeing enough investment and infrastructural change from Whitehall that will alleviate real change.
“The accelerating switch to electrified transport will clearly increase overall loading on Cumbria’s electricity network. It presents significant challenges for both power generation and distribution which needs to be met by the government.
“Rural, remote and sensitive areas such as around Coniston Water or in the North Lakes will struggle to have EV points installed without public sector intervention.
“Decision makers need to provide significant investment so Cumbrian authorities can be a position to meet their targets, while such an upgrade would help in providing significant job creation, which are all positive reasons.”
The Electric Vehicle Charging Deployment in Cumbria report, by Cumbria Action for Sustainability, has highlighted the scale of the challenge to put in place adequate electric vehicle charging infrastructure to support the transition to EVs over the coming decade.
According to the report, the county is likely to need between 2,100 and 6,400 public charge points just to meet residents’ needs by 2030. #After this date, no new petrol or diesel cars will be sold in the UK, giving added impetus to the shift to electric vehicles as part of efforts to tackle climate change.
It also forecasts that these estimates may need to increase by up to 50 per cent to cater for the very high numbers of tourists visiting Cumbria at peak times.
The report estimates that Cumbria will need between 3,150 and 9,600 charge points to accommodate residents, visitors and travellers.