Press Release: Charging Your Car May Mean Candlelit Dinners




On the eve of the Conservative Party Conference, Tim Yeo, Chairman of New Nuclear Watch Europe (NNWE) asks government what it is going to do to ensure the public doesn’t have to go without.

The shift in the shape of electricity demand over the next two decades may mean the simple act of flicking the switch will demand some serious decision-making. Across Europe governments are putting plans in place to phase out petrol and diesel cars, the race is on to see who can do it soonest. The UK is looking to ban sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, Norway wants to do it by 2025.

But it’s not just governments that are vying for pole position, car manufacturers are just as committed with some of the top names turning their backs on vehicles powered solely by the internal combustion engine. It is all shaping up for a big shift in the uptake of electric vehicle (EV) ownership. 

The Grand Prix, in its literal translation, will be considerable cuts in pollution and much improved air quality. But that’s not all, gearing up for EVs will create a boon for infrastructure investment, and not just charging points. This whole revolution relies on there being sufficient electricity generating capacity to meet a sizeable new demand. Even with developments in battery and storage technology, the uptake of EVs will drive a huge surge in electricity demand at peak times.

Tim Yeo commented: “The shape of electricity demand will change considerably compared to today’s pattern. Imagine returning home from work on a winter’s evening and having to decide whether to charge the car for the next journey or light the house and watch your favourite soap. The notion of candlelit dinners on most weekday nights will soon wear off even for the romantics.

“The decision to phase out petrol and diesel cars is a bold one, and one that should be welcomed, but it must be matched by an equally bold and progressive timeline for new nuclear build. Government needs to act now to pave the way for large capital investment.

“It is time for government to commit to nuclear new build and in doing so they must look beyond Europe to overseas vendors from countries such as China, Russia and South Korea. These countries have developed nuclear technologies that can generate electricity far more cheaply than Hinkley Point C at prices that are below the true cost of even the latest offshore wind proposals.

“NNWE urges government to put a programme in place by 2020 so that companies have the time to complete the comprehensive Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process, and then build the plant.

“Only with this roadmap in place will the UK be ready to meet the surge in demand which will come online in the next two decades”.


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Notes to Editors

  1. NNWE was founded at the end of 2014 to help ensure nuclear power is recognised as an important and desirable way for European governments to provide affordable, secure, low carbon energy and help to meet the long-term energy needs of their citizens.
  2. Membership of NNWE is open to all companies, individuals and organisations active in the nuclear industry including those involved in the supply chain. More information is available at
  3. Tim Yeo is Chair of New Nuclear Watch Europe and the University of Sheffield Industrial Advisory Board for the Energy 2050 initiative. He is a former Minister of State for the Environment, Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, and was Chair of the Environmental Audit Select Committee from 2005-2010 and then Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee from 2010-2015.