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Electric car shift needs gear change, says SSE chief

Utility bosses want more electric vehicles

Sales of new petrol and diesel cars should be phased out early as part of an acceleration of the green energy, says one of Scotland’s top energy bosses.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, chief executive of Perth-base SSE, wants the move to electric vehicles brought forward by at least five years to 2030.

He used a virtual conference yesterday to call for a shift in the transition from fossil fuels and to outline the impact of the coronavirus on the energy industry.

A number of utility firms expressed a common view that the European Commission should put widespread electrification of EU energy systems at the heart of the coronavirus recovery package.

Mr Phillips-Davies said it will take two to three years for UK power demand to recover from the pandemic.

“I think demand may come back in two to three years. I think it will be depressed this year and to some extent next. This depends in part on the economic recovery, which will depress prices,” he told those joining the conference organised by the EU electricity lobby Eurelectric, which represents the electricity industry at a European level.

His recommendations about electric vehicles is one of a number of proposals the company has submitted to the UK government on carbon taxes.

SSE is calling for at least 75 gigawatts of offshore wind farms by 2050 — against the current 8.5 gigawatts — and the development of an “offshore supergrid”.

Eurelectric wants the energy transition to be at the heart of the post-covid-19 European strategy.


In a statement said that in addition to being “closely linked to the ambitions of the Green Deal”, electrification is a “critical facilitator” of the EU’s economic recovery, so “it is essential to invest in tackling the barriers that prevented an accelerated electrification of buildings, transport and industries, during the first quarter of 2020 ”.

It said that only 17% of the million public electric vehicle charging stations needed by 2025 have already been implemented, with several projects postponed or cancelled this year.

Magnus Hall, president of Eurelectric, said: “The European recovery strategy should help to accelerate our transition to a cleaner future.

“By prioritising investments in areas such as fossil-free energy, charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, strengthening distribution networks and electrifying heating systems, we have a unique opportunity to stimulate employment and face the climate challenge at the same time.”

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