The roll-out of infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs) risks exacerbating social divides in UK cities – with some communities missing out – unless action is taken, a new report warns.
Independent think tank Localis said that certain Ofgem powers should be devolved to ensure cities can develop their own energy policies and plans.
Local authorities should be able to form their own consortiums using existing knowledge of their local areas, and also be empowered to work with private energy network providers to deliver the infrastructure they need for the future, the report – Smart Cities: Fair investment for sustainable growth – recommended.
Jonathan Werran, chief executive at Localis, said: “Without a change in regulation, behaviour and a wholesale transfer of powers for local energy policies, we risk a tale of two cities in our major urban centres – deepening levels of inequality between the prosperous and more deprived parts of town.
“A ‘devolution revolution’ in locally-regulated energy markets has the potential to accelerate the nation’s switch to clean growth, turn UK cities into powerhouses for sustainable and inclusive prosperity and improve livelihoods in towns and cities across the UK.”
The report highlighted the fact that, while private energy network providers have invested heavily in building infrastructure that is fit for purpose today, their inability to invest further unless there is proven need for it presents a major barrier to readying cities for smart technologies.
The authors also recommended that the Government produce a standardised framework for how EV charging infrastructure is built and upgraded.