SSEN Transmission has today submitted to the GB energy regulator, Ofgem, an ambitious Business Plan for the future of the north of Scotland electricity transmission system.
The Business Plan, titled ‘A Network for Net Zero’, covers the period from April 2021 to March 2026 and follows substantial consultation with national and local stakeholders as well as SSEN Transmission's independent expert RIIO-T2 User Group.
It aims to support both the UK and Scottish Governments' net zero emissions targets and meet the needs and expectations expressed by stakeholders through five clear, ambitious goals:
Commenting on the final Business Plan, Rob McDonald, Managing Director for SSEN Transmission, said:
“With our network region home to some of the UK’s greatest resources of renewable energy we have a critical role to play in the fight to prevent the worst effects of climate change, connecting up more renewable energy and transporting it across the country.
“We believe our Business Plan represents a balanced package that makes a powerful case for the vital investment needed to deliver a pathway net zero. It will also lead to improved network reliability, at an affordable cost to consumers, whilst also providing a fair return to investors.
“We would like to thank all our stakeholders who helped shape our plan and we now look forward to Ofgem’s consultation on our final Business Plan and the subsequent open hearings, which are expected to take place in the first half of 2020.”
SSEN Transmission's Business Plan sets out its 'Certain View' of the next price control period, which makes a powerful investment case for a minimum total expenditure of £2.4bn over the RIIO-T2 period. This investment is essential to maintain and grow the north of Scotland transmission network to meet the certain needs of current and future electricity generators and customers, delivering a clear pathway to net zero. This is an increase from the £2.2bn totex forecast in SSEN Transmission’s draft Business Plan summer consultation.
It is anticipated additional investment will be required to deliver the transition to net zero, but this investment will only be released once there is certainty it is needed – protecting billpayers.
As well as facilitating future growth in renewable electricity, SSEN Transmission also intends to show leadership in reducing its own environmental impact, setting an ambitious goal to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions by one third, consistent with that required to deliver a pathway to net zero. The main ways in which SSEN Transmission will achieve this goal is to clean up the gases used in its network infrastructure and to decarbonise its transport fleet.
Following its summer consultation, SSEN Transmission has revised its 100% reliability goal, reflecting stakeholder feedback that this should be an aspirational target, where cost effective to do so.
Throughout the RIIO-T2 period, SSEN Transmission intends to increase the number of its direct employees from around 500 today to over 700, with significantly more jobs expected through SSEN Transmission’s supply chain, supporting sustainable economic growth across the north of Scotland.
To deliver its plans, SSEN Transmission estimates its average cost to the GB consumer over the RIIO-T2 period will be around £7 a year.
As part of Ofgem’s consideration of the final plan, the regulator will consult with stakeholders during 2020 before determining what level of investment should be taken forward from 2021 through to 2026.