Heat pumps and EVs set to become central to everyday life

There could be over 700,000 electric heat pumps and 4.5mn electric vehicles (EVs) across London, the East and South East by 2030, according to UK Power Networks (UKPN).

On 21 January, UKPN published its 2021 Distribution Future Energy Scenarios research, exploring how low carbon technologies could be taken up in future. Through bespoke modelling and data analysis from Element Energy, it set out four different potential “scenario worlds” up to 2050. In one, it forecast growth of more than 3,000% in EVs and 2,500% in domestic heat pumps by 2030 alone, keeping the UK on track for reaching its 2050 net zero target, while also offering a clear indication of a green recovery.

Falling EV prices, combined with the government’s ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030, would likely see sales of new electric vehicles and vans accelerate. Even in scenarios with slower economic growth, UKPN found a quarter of a million household solar panels were still installed, with aggregate grid scale battery storage capacity more than double that of the UK’s largest nuclear power station and a transition to a zero carbon hydrogen gas grid.

In the most ambitious scenario, “Leading the Way”, the net zero target is achieved by 2048 with 4.2mn less cars on the roads than is the case in other scenarios as a greater number of people choose public transport. A much faster rollout of heat pumps was also observed with 1.2mn electric heat pumps installed across UKPN’s areas by 2030.