By Paul Homewood
h/t Ian Magness
Households are being blocked from making net zero upgrades to their homes due to lack of electricity supply, the energy watchdog has warned.
Residents of rural villages have been told by network operators there is not enough grid capacity to support electric upgrades, despite government plans which will require homes to install heat pumps and electric car charge points.
The Government wants 600,000 heat pumps to be installed every year from 2028, while an estimated eight million electric vehicles (EVs) will be registered by 2030. This comes on top of a planned ban on heating oil from 2026.
Roughly four million households in Britain are not connected to the gas grid and will have to switch to electric heating as part of the Government’s net zero drive.
But outdated infrastructure, which has led to weak spots in the national energy grid, have prompted fears rural communities and even entire villages, which mostly rely on heating oil, will be “left behind”.
In one remote Norfolk village, visited by this newspaper, local residents said they were unable to make even the most basic upgrades to their homes due to a lack of supply.
Residents of East Ruston revealed they had been unable to install more energy efficient heat pumps or replace older oil boilers with modern electric systems.
Local homeowners told how power cuts were a common occurrence following minor "gales" and how energy providers have said their plans to upgrade properties were impossible, given the lack of power able to supply their homes.
Ofgem, the regulator, said on Tuesday that the expansion of supply into rural areas was “a massive project over the next decade” as the industry frantically tries to remove bottlenecks and accelerate grid connections.
A spokesman said: “The big policy promises are empty words if communities can’t get connected to the grid wherever they live and when they need it – especially in the countryside.”
A source at the regulator added: “The current electricity grid has not got the capacity. The problem is easier to diagnose than the solution: to date, there is no financial incentive for the energy distributors to invest in rural grids.”
Industry experts say a lack of grid supply is an issue “everywhere”, even in built up areas like West London, where large data centres have stretched local capacity to the point that developers face a potential ban on new housing projects.
Ofgem said the “big issue” was rising waiting times for electricity grid connections due to a dramatic increase in demand, especially from large developments like data centres, energy storage, and electric vehicle hubs. Some areas in Britain faced connection dates as far away as 2035, the regulator added.
Let’s ignore the silly claim that these villagers would love to install green heating systems. Most don’t and would much rather stick with what works, oil boilers.
But the issue of grid capacity is a real one, and not just for rural areas. This is yet another example of successive governments trying to things on the cheap, and avoid paying the bill for this green nonsense themselves.
And it is another good reason why Net Zero plans should be put on the back burner until all of these problems are addressed.
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April 19, 2023 at 11:49AM