The watchdog said the funding, part of a wider £40bn commitment, will fuel more than 200 low-carbon projects across the UK to help the country gear up for more electric transport.
Ofgem said the investment, which will take place over the next two years, will target Britain’s cables, substations, and other infrastructure that “needs a massive upgrade” to meet an expanded surge in energy demand.
It said the project will partly support installing cables needed to launch “1,800 new ultra-rapid charge points,” tripling the current network.
As a result of the investment, charging points will be installed in towns and cities across the UK, as cities among Glasgow, Kirkwall, Warrington, Llandudno, York, and Truro will benefit from the increased network capacity.
🚗 ⚡ Ofgem gives green light to triple Britain’s ultra-rapid electric vehicle charge points. We’re playing a key role to help prepare 🇬🇧 Britain for a cleaner, greener energy future and tackle #climatechange.
— ofgem (@ofgem) May 24, 2021
This network investment is part of the UK’s climate commitment bid ahead of the country hosting the UN climate conference, COP26, in November 2021.
Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley said: “The payment will support the rapid take-up of EVs, which will be vital if Britain is to hit its climate change targets.”
He continued: “In the year that Glasgow hosts the COP26 climate summit, the energy networks are rising to the challenge and working with us and partners to accelerate projects that can start now, benefiting consumers, boosting the economy, and creating jobs.”
UK Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said: “I warmly welcome today’s news from Ofgem, which will greatly improve the resilience of our charging network as we build back greener.
“With more than 500,000 electric cars now on UK roads, this will help to increase this number even further as drivers continue to make the switch to cleaner, greener vehicles.”
The investment will create just under 200MW of electrical capacity, expected to enable up to 500 domestic EV chargers, more than 200 rapid or ultra-rapid vehicle chargers, and 1,500 domestic heat pumps.
The project is also hoped to support the rapid roll-out of electric buses, electric ferries, and electric flight.
Energy Networks Association, UK-funded industry body for gas and electricity transmission, chief executive David Smith said: “With just a few months left until COP26, we are delighted to have been able to bring forward such a crucial enabler of the prime minister’s green recovery ambitions.
“Delivering a green recovery for seas, skies, and streets, over £300m of electricity distribution network investment will enable wide-ranging projects, which help tackle some of our biggest net-zero challenges, like electric vehicle range anxiety and the decarbonisation of heavier transport.
“This new funding shows the social, economic, and environmental benefits that can be brought forward by industry working closely with a flexible regulator.”
The investment also covers more rural areas with charging points for commuters planned at train stations in North and Mid Wales and the electrification of the Windermere ferry, which transports people, vehicles, horses, and cycles across the Cumbrian lake, Windermere.