A blog by Alex Sutton, Sustainability Manager

Having recently joined SSEN Transmission to implement the Sustainability Strategy, I have been impressed by the work that has been achieved to design and deliver the benefits of sustainability across our operations. The commitment to delivering sustainability and decarbonisation through strategy, delivery and forward planning is truly inspiring.

Today we are pleased to publish our Transmission Annual Sustainability Report 2017/18; providing our first annual update on progress, measured against our new overarching Sustainability Strategy ambitions. It has been an excellent year for sustainability across SSEN Transmission and significant milestones have been achieved as we transition and adopt our wider sustainability initiatives into business as usual across our operations.

Working collaboratively with stakeholders, we have refined and developed our sustainability strategic drivers based on the analysis of government policy, industry trends, global sustainable development goals and stakeholder expectations. Published earlier this year, our new comprehensive strategy sets out six broad and bold sustainability ambitions with tailored targets under development. This builds on the carbon and environment focussed regulatory incentives and bringing in wider elements of socio-economic and resource sustainability.

With a continued focus on connecting for society and delivering low carbon generation sustainably, we successfully connected 449MW of low carbon generation to the network last year and several   innovations are now directing our future low carbon connections activities. For example, our team actively supported the call for remote island onshore wind to be able to access government support schemes. To help make these connections possible, we have been developing needs cases and consulting on alternative approaches to connections and development that will unlock the renewables potential of Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles, subject to regulatory approval. A further example has been the use of use of higher capacity, more efficient Aluminium Conductor Composite Core (ACCC) Monte Carlo conductors, that has become a business as usual network development option that speeds up connections and increases resource efficiency.

To plan for the transition to a low carbon energy system, we have recently published another first for our business, our North of Scotland Future Energy Scenarios report, following engagement with key stakeholders on future energy trends in the 2020s. Insight into expected energy trends and likely scenarios will be vital to help us continue to meet the future needs of our customers, stakeholders and wider society. From this insight, we have built a picture of the range of possible scenarios our network area could face, including two that seek to meet the ambitions of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. To support this future planning, we have committed to set a Science based target for our greenhouse gas emissions to achieve the level of decarbonisation in line with what is required to keep the global temperature increase below 2°C compared to pre-industrial temperatures.

Building on these achievements, this coming year is also set to be an exciting one for SSEN Transmission as we plan to connect a further 1,090MW of low carbon generation to the network and develop the delivery plan for implementing our sustainability ambitions with colleagues and stakeholders later this year. Feedback and engagement will be vital as we continue to implement our sustainability objectives. Our strategy is ambitious, but I believe it is absolutely achievable. I look forward to working with you to deliver and embed the Sustainability strategy across the Transmission network.  

The full annual Sustainability Report 2017/18 can be found here: https://www.ssen-transmission.co.uk/sustainability-and-environment/our-low-carbon-transition-plan/

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