The United Kingdom hasn’t made any hard commitments yet, but officials are discussing a chain of new clean energy policies. These policies are all tied into the idea of a “green” recovery for the British economy after the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of them are at the national level, such as closing the final few coal plants in the country, but one in particular will reach directly into nearly every household: a ban on the sale of new fossil fuel vehicles anywhere in the UK, in favor of electric vehicles.
Originally slated to begin in 2040 (which would be in line with France’s policy), the fossil fuel vehicle ban is now rumored to be coming as early as 2030. Germany, Ireland, and the Netherlands are all working on similar bans, and Norway is currently in the lead with hard plans to ban new polluting vehicles as early as 2025.
According to Graeme Cooper, the director for the National Grid’s electric vehicle project, the National Grid should be able to meet the increased demand in that time frame. They estimate that replacing all personal fossil fuel vehicles with electric ones would only increase the national demand for power by about 30 percent.
“Which the grid could easily cope with,” said Cooper.
The plan is one chapter of the soon-to-be-released energy white paper, which will form the government’s legally binding targets for reducing the environmental damage of the UK economy. The paper, backed by the Committee on Climate Change, is expected to be published in November. It is also expected to include support for the emerging clean hydrogen industry, which should help cut carbon emissions from heavy industry.
Currently, the annual demand for electricity in Great Britain is approximately 300 terawatt hours. While most of that energy is still produced by burning fossil fuels (primarily natural gas), that is a much more efficient method of energy production than individual internal combustion engines in each vehicle. In addition to the fossil fuel vehicle ban, the white paper also outlines a timeline for heavy reductions in fossil fuel-generated energy, replacing it with nuclear and renewable sources.