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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-20152: Neil Bibby (West Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 22 November 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what impact its plans to phase out petrol and diesel cars will have on (a) the National Grid, (b) energy generation and (c) its energy policy.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 3 December 2018

The Scottish Government recognises that the commitment to phase out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032 is likely to lead to an increased demand for electric vehicles (EVs), although there is little certainty about how future transport systems will evolve. Increasing EV uptake will have a range of impacts on electricity demand and supporting infrastructure. We will work collaboratively to find innovative solutions that avoid unnecessary disruptions and investment.

The regulation of electricity networks is specifically reserved to the UK Government. However, we hold regular discussions with National Grid in the context of its role as System Operator across Great Britain, as well as with the UK Government, Ofgem, and industry partners on how networks need to change to support rising EV uptake and our wider carbon reduction targets. We intend to publish a Networks Vision statement by the end of the year, describing the ways in which the electricity and gas networks will have to change to enable the continued decarbonisation of Scotland’s economy, including transport.

The decarbonisation of transport is an integral part of the whole systems approach set out in our Energy Strategy. The associated target for the equivalent of 50% of energy for Scotland’s heat, transport and electricity to be supplied from renewable sources by 2030 will require changes to the ways in which energy is generated and consumed. We are working closely with Scotland’s network operators and others to consider the ways in which higher demand for electricity arising from EV uptake may vary in different geographical areas during the period up to 2030. Renewables will play a big part in meeting this increased demand, with roles for other sources and technologies, such as battery storage, within a smarter, more interconnected network.