Smarting from suggestions that he made a perfect ass of himself at the COP 26 summit in Glasgow earlier this month, the UK Prime Minister told an audience on November 22 that his government will issue a new mandate that requires all new buildings to install EV charging stations beginning next year. According to The Guardian, Boris Johnson told an audience at the Confederation of British Industry the new plan is “world leading,” and is designed to toughen up regulations for new homes and buildings.
Starting next year, developers of sites such as supermarkets and office blocks will be required to install electric vehicle charging stations in order to help phase out the use of petrol and diesel cars, the sales of which will be banned in a little more than 8 years. The government expects the move to lead to 145,000 new charging points each year. Buildings undergoing renovations that leave them with more than 10 parking spaces will also be subject to the new measures.
As part of the government’s bid to reach net zero by 2050, almost 26,000 publicly available electric vehicle charging devices have been installed — including 4,900 fast chargers. A total of 250,000 charging points in homes and workplaces have already been installed.
A Pivotal Moment
Stressing the importance of clean energy just weeks after the UK hosted COP 26, Johnson said the country is at a pivotal moment before adding, “We cannot go on as we are.” He told business leaders that it should not just be public spending that is used to “adapt our economy to the green industrial revolution,” and that the government will focus on investments in science and technology to raise productivity and “then get out your way. We must regulate less or better and take advantage of new freedoms.” If you have any idea what that all means, please do let us know in the comments section. It sounds like codswallop to us.
The government will support a new £150 million loan program administered by Innovate UK over the next three years to help British small and medium size enterprises commercialize their latest research. The “innovation loans” will be accessible to a variety of sectors — including green businesses.
A further £9.4 million in funding has been confirmed for what Downing Street said was a first of its kind hydrogen project in the UK’s largest onshore wind farm near Glasgow. The money will go to the Whitelee green hydrogen initiative to develop the country’s largest electrolyzer that will convert water into hydrogen gas. The hydrogen will be used to store energy and supply local transport providers with zero carbon fuel.
We at CleanTechnica are skeptical of such hydrogen initiatives. When there is an over-abundance of renewable energy, it can be put to use splitting water into its component parts but until that happens, we believe it should be put to use powering industry, electric vehicles, and the heating and cooling systems in the built environment.
Not everyone is impressed by the happy talk from Johnson. Ed Miliband, the shadow business secretary, accused the government of “failing Britain’s automotive companies and workers.” He said, “Ministers have stepped back and left manufacturers, workers, and the public on their own, failing to take the action necessary to make the switch affordable for families hit by a cost of living crisis.
“By extending the help to buy an electric car for those on lower and middle incomes and accelerating the rollout of charging points in areas that have been left out, [Labour] would ensure that everyone could benefit and make the green transition fair.”
It’s wonderful news that the UK is increasing the availability of EV charging equipment, but it must be said that overall, its initiatives are pretty weak tea in light of the climate catastrophe facing all humanity. It’s seems the very definition of doing as little as possible while giving the impression that great progress is being made. Maybe that’s the perfect definition of a political statement — empty promises inflated by a lot of hot air.
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