Talking Net Zero episode 2 – Edward Sargent

This week Sara Sloman talks about cake and infrastructure with Edward Sargent, Director of Business Development at Pivot Power, who oozes enthusiasm about delivering clean transport.

Pivoted out of a battery company, the firm aims to accelerate clean transport by providing 2GW of energy storage in the UK.

It aims to run 40 sites, with private cable networks from the battery storage locations to places where electric vehicles – initially cars, but also bigger vehicles – are charged.

He explains how Pivot Power’s current project in Oxford, working with the council and other partners, is building an energy super-hub.

It uses a 50MW battery station in southern Oxford at National Grid’s primary sub-station, then running an 8.5km private cable to a bus-based park-and-ride site on edge of Oxford.

With initial capacity for 20 charging stations, but with ability to grow, it’s also looking at charging buses and other vehicles in the area.

The conversation moves on to how we predict the future for infrastructure, the growth in EVs, their ownership models and what it means.

Set against this are the challenges of the time it can take to put in infrastructure, considering land use around towns and cities and how this fits with transport aspirations.

They also chat about how green transport attitudes will be normalised and what needs to be done to change people’s habits.

For example, a study in Manchester discovered that 2m car journeys a year are for less than 1km.

The switch of delivery vans from diesel to electric – and how the take up of electric will change driving styles of light commercials – is discussed. And, why vehicles are already being updated in real-time, rather than with model changes.

They discuss the electrification of ships when in port – using shore supplies to avoid the need to run diesel generators – which turns out to be not as simple as just ‘plugging-in’ a ship to shore.

They conclude with mulling over planning issues, decentralised generation, and Edward ends with a strong message to regulators about the speed of change that’s required.

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