£10bn investment needed to drive low-carbon transport industry
More than £10bn will need to be invested in low-carbon transport if the UK is to meet its carbon emission reduction targets by 2050.
That's the conclusion of a series of new reports from the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) and consultants Element Energy, which state that the deployment of a new public refuelling infrastructure will be required to help the UK reduce its emissions.
The The ‘Infrastructure Roadmap’ reports are set to be presented at the LowCVP’s Annual Conference on tomorrow (June 24) in Westminster.
They state that £2.1bn will be needed by 2030, with the early investments requiring long-term government support. With more low-carbon vehicles, electric vehicles and hybrids on the road by 2050, the report also predicts a 50-80% reduction in fuel demands compared to 2015 levels.
The studies claim to be the ‘missing piece’ in addressing future low-carbon infrastructure for transport, with input from expert industry and government contributors.
LowCVP policy and operations director Jonathan Murray said: “The Infrastructure Roadmaps provide much of the missing information that was needed to give policymakers and key industrial actors with a clear overview of the road to decarbonisation in terms of transport fuels.”
The report also states that millions of new charge points will be needed in residential areas to support the deployment of plug-in electric vehicles. It also stated that progress of the electric vehicle market remains constrained by the uncertain future of charging technologies.
The research found there were opportunities for heavy duty vehicles to use methane natural gas to reduce emissions. National Grid predicted the use of alternative fuels such as methane could play a significant role in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in UK transport, particularly for heavy goods vehicles and buses.
Richard Cook, design manager at National Grid, said: “We believe the reports provide a comprehensive and balanced view of the state of the current methane infrastructure, and what changes are needed to realise the significant environmental benefits associated with this fuel.”
For hydrogen powered vehicles the study suggested the initial infrastructure developments would require additional financial support from government. It also proposed local government groups could play a key role in adopting hydrogen fuel cells for public fleets, with £11m investment announced last year for the initial development of a hydrogen fuel network.
The lead author of the reports for Element Energy Celine Cluzel added: “These reports show the transport refuelling system of the future will be very different from today – more diverse but also more integrated with the existing energy networks. It also shows there is still scope for many innovations and R&D, which is an opportunity for the UK to seize.”
The reports come as sales of vehicles using alternative fuels to traditional petrol and diesel continue to rise. Global electric car sales saw massive growth in 2014 with around 320,000 new vehicles registered. The UK also saw electric vehicle sales increase four-fold in 2013.
Earlier this year the Renewable Energy Association also stated green gas such as biomethane was now a ‘serious contender’ for the renewable energy market, including for producing fuel for low-emission vehicles.