Out-Law News 2 min. read
27 Jan 2023, 3:50 pm
The successful delivery of Ireland’s new electric vehicles (EVs) charging infrastructure strategy and very significant investment in the country’s electricity grid are effectively inter-dependent, an expert has said.
Dublin-based Garrett Monaghan of Pinsent Masons, a specialist in the development, acquisition and funding of energy and infrastructure assets, was commenting after the government in Ireland finalised its strategy for delivering the EV charge point infrastructure necessary to enable its target of 940,000 EVs being on Irish roads by 2030. It consulted on a draft version of the strategy last year.
Monaghan said: “Electrification of transport is at the heart of the energy transition. The very strong pick up in EV sales in the Irish and European markets speak for themselves; people like them. Significantly, the broader consumer concern with ‘range anxiety’ has been replaced with ‘charging’ anxiety. The government recognises that there is little upside in interrupting that momentum and the EV strategy needs to be seen in the context of the Climate Action Plan 2023 (CAP), published late last year.”
“The CAP is having an immediate impact on all parts of the Irish economy and the EV strategy is carefully and inevitably reliant on the build out of the €10 billion-plus investment in the Irish electricity grid earmarked by ESB Networks between now and 2030,” he said. “Moreover, Ireland’s grid needs to accommodate the demands of REPowerEU and the rapidly emerging Irish offshore wind sector.”
The new EV charging strategy envisages much greater availability of public charging infrastructure, including a new national EV charging network entailing a pool of high-powered chargers being made accessible at least every 60 kilometres on Ireland’s motorway network.
Electrification of transport is at the heart of the energy transition
Under the EV charging infrastructure strategy, the government plans to spend €100 million on public charging infrastructure over the next three years. Zero Emission Vehicles Ireland (ZEVI), an office established in July 2022, will lead the delivery of the strategy and on meeting the CAP objective of having 30% of the Irish private car fleet switched to electric by 2030.
In 2022, the Irish public’s appetite for EVs grew, with 15,678 new electric cars being registered – an 81.3% increase compared to 2021, according to the Society of the Irish Motor Industry. The increasing numbers of EVs brings increasing demand on public infrastructure, which is needed to encourage drivers to make the switch.
In 2022, the government said 80% of EV charging was being done at home. In respect of home charging, the strategy promotes charging at off-peak times, and makes provision for bolstering residential neighbourhood charging and charging at “destinations” such as retail parks and sports facilities – as well as en-route.
Transport minister Eamon Ryan said: “The EV strategy sets out a roadmap for creating an entirely new infrastructure across the country – one that people can have confidence in and one that will encourage more and more people to choose EVs. It’s happening already – EV sales are sky-rocketing – but the new infrastructure we are planning should take away concern or worry that people might have about access to charging points.”
Practical implementation of the new strategy will begin on 30 January when a new €15 million Shared Island Sports Club Scheme which was also announced will open. The scheme is designed to help sports clubs install EV charge points. Monaghan said it is an example of the strategy’s community approach and the importance of collaboration with local authorities.
Ireland’s EV charging infrastructure strategy is influenced by both national and international policies, including the national sustainability mobility policy, the CAP and the EU’s Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation. Overall, it is aimed at delivering the infrastructure necessary to persuade road users to switch to EVs – or other more sustainable modes of transport – as part of Ireland’s broader drive to decarbonise its economy.
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