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Energy / Electric vehicle charging point use on the rise

The charger in Unst, however, was only used eight times in the last two years

The vehicle charging point at the Fort Road car park. Photo: Shetland News

PUBLIC electric vehicle charging points across the isles were used nearly twice as much in total in 2019 than they were the previous year, according to figures from Shetland Islands Council.

The council’s network of 12 points were used 3,197 times last year compared to 1,735 in 2018.

Nearly 27,000kWh of energy was used last year, with that figure for 2018 sitting at 12,798kWh.

All of the charging points are currently free, but this will be looked at over the next few months.

The popularity of points, however, varies drastically depending on their location, with the charger in in Unst only used eight times in the last two years.

The charger at Baltasound Leisure Centre was used twice in 2018 and then six times last year.

The data shows that the most popular of Shetland Islands Council’s electric vehicle charging points in 2019 was at the Gilbertson Park.

The facility, one of only two rapid chargers in the isles, was used 1,169 times during the year, with over 10,300kWh of power issued.

The second most used point was at the North Ness Business Park (415 charges), followed by Clickimin Leisure Centre (412) and the Fort Road car park (358).

Last year the charger at the Grantfield offices was used 281 times, while the Lerwick Health Centre outlet was used on 235 occasions.

Outside of Lerwick, Brae Health Centre’s charging point was used 161 times and the Ulsta ferry terminal rapid charger was utilised 57 times.

Next in popularity was the Bixter car park (40), Scalloway Primary School (36) and Dunrossness Industrial Estate (27).

There is also a charging point in Fetlar, installed by the Fetlar Museum Trust.

Between 2013/14 and 2018/19 over £300,000 was been spent in the Shetland Islands Council area through Scotland’s electric vehicle charging network ChargePlace Scotland.

All local authorities are given annual grant offers, but it is for each council to decide whether to accept the offer.

The vice-chairman of Shetland Islands Council’s environment and transport committee Robbie McGregor said networks of charging points need to be in place before more people will commit to green vehicles.

“The use of electric and hybrid electric vehicles is becoming greater as time and technology progresses,” he said.

“I understand that buses solely powered by electricity are now operating in Glasgow.

“Electric vehicles will go a long way towards reducing CO2 emissions but people will not buy them unless there is a network of charging points available.

“While I am delighted to see the upward trend in usage I am comfortable that we should have sites available which are underused today but which will be used in the future.

“This is an example of doing something positive to combat climate change and this and other initiatives have to be assessed on a case by case basis to help in the battle against climate change.”