Warning lack of power could hamper plans for electric vehicle points in rural Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 12:06 13 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:34 13 July 2020
A warning has been issued that charging points for electric vehicles could be scrapped from housing schemes in rural Norfolk - because electricity grids could struggle to cope.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said earlier this year that he wants electrical vehicles to become “the new normal”, as he announced £10m to install chargepoints on residential streets across the country.
But Norwich-based property and construction consultancy Ingelton Wood has warned that the energy grids in some parts of Norfolk are close to capacity and would need upgrading if plug-in electric vehicle charging points are to be included in new sustainable housing developments.
Home charging stations are regarded as key for a greener future, as most electric vehicle owners are expected to charge at home rather than at supermarkets or on motorways.
While it is currently not mandatory for electric vehicle charging points to be built at new homes, Ingleton Wood, which advises property developers, expects demand to grow for widespread take-up as the vehicles become increasingly attractive.
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But Kevin Laws, principal engineer at Ingleton Wood’s building services team in Norwich, warned the cost of upgrading the energy grid could act as barrier in some rural areas.
He said costs could vary from £20,000 to £100,000 for a typical 15-home rural development, split between developers and network operators which run the electricity grids.
He said: “While it makes great sense to plan ahead now and allow people to charge their electric vehicles at new housing developments, there are infrastructure obstacles that need to be overcome.
“At the same time unfortunately, the huge costs to upgrade the power grid is making some developments potentially commercially unviable.
“This means that electric vehicle charging points are at risk of not being installed at the development, or the development itself is at risk of being scrapped. We’re getting caught in some tricky Catch 22 situations.”
Concerns over the lack of electricity capacity in parts of the county were raised by county councillors last year, with a need for new electricity substations need to be built in areas, such as Thetford and Attleborough.
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