More than 4.5 million electric vehicles (EVs) could be on UK roads, almost 250,000 households could feature solar technology and between 450,000 to more than one million domestic electric heat pumps could be installed by 2030 in order to reach net-zero, new research has found.
UK Power Networks recently published its 2021 Distribution Future Energy Scenarios, mapping four possible low-carbon transitions through to 2030. Of the four, only the “steady progression” scenario wouldn’t put the UK on course for net-zero emissions by 2050.
One of these scenarios saw over 3,000% growth in EVs and 2,500% rise in domestic heat pumps by 2030. UKPN said the government’s ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030, alongside prices of EVs continuing to fall could help accelerate the sales of new EVs.
These figures would keep the UK on track to reach its 2050 net zero target, meanwhile a more ambitious scenario – Leading the Way – reaches net zero two years early by 2048. This scenario predicts 4.2 million fewer cars overall on roads than within other scenarios, with public transport being a more popular choice. It also sees a faster rollout of heat pumps, reaching 1.2 million in UKPN’s service areas by 2030.
Another scenario sees slowing economic growth but still results in a quarter of a million-household having solar panels installed, aggregate grid scale battery storage capacity more than doubling that of the UK’s largest nuclear power station and a move towards a zero carbon hydrogen gas grid.
UK Power Networks’ director of customer services, strategy and regulation Sul Alli said: “The Government’s Ten Point Plan has signalled an acceleration of the UK’s transition to a net-zero carbon economy. We are determined to be at the forefront in our industry and make sure no customers in the areas we serve, are left behind.”
Within the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan, he set out an ambitious target of 600,000 heat pump installations annually by 2028, whilst last month the government released more detail on the Future Homes Standard, stating that it anticipates “that heat pumps will become the primary heating technology for new homes”.
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