SSEN Transmission has published ambitious plans for the future of the north of Scotland electricity transmission system.

With the region home to some of the UK’s greatest resources of renewable energy, SSEN Transmission will be at the forefront of the country’s fight to tackle climate change, connecting up more renewable energy and transporting it across the country.  

There is growing consensus of the need to fully decarbonise the economy to prevent the worst effects of global warming, with the UK Government committing to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and the Scottish Government committing to meet this target five years earlier, in 2045.  The draft Business Plan reflects this and follows substantial consultation with national and local stakeholders as well as SSEN Transmission’s independent expert RIIO-T2 User Group.

‘A Network for Net Zero’ aims to support both Governments’ targets and meet the needs and expectations expressed by stakeholders through five clear, ambitious goals:

  • Transport the renewable electricity that powers 10 million homes (circa 10 GW)
  • 100% network reliability for homes and businesses
  • Every connection delivered on time
  • One third reduction in SSEN Transmission’s greenhouse gas emissions
  • £100m in efficiency savings from innovation

Rob McDonald, Managing Director for SSEN Transmission, said the plans were a blueprint for continued investment in the flexible, safe and secure, low carbon electricity network needed to help decarbonise the economy. 

He said: “Our network already supports over 6GW of clean power but continued investment in the electricity transmission system is key to unlocking the further potential the North of Scotland can play in meeting Governments’ targets for net zero greenhouse gas emissions. 

“Our ‘Network for Net Zero’ proposal is a balanced package that makes a powerful case for the vital investment needed to deliver the clean energy transition, reflecting the ambition our stakeholders have told us they want to see, at an affordable cost to consumers, whilst also providing a fair return to investors.”

SSEN Transmission will now consult further with stakeholders ahead of submitting a final plan to Ofgem in December as part of its RIIO T2 price control process.  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.

In the draft Plan, SSEN Transmission’s ‘Certain View’ sets out that a minimum investment of £2.2bn is required over the five-year period to maintain and grow the north of Scotland transmission network to meet the certain needs of current and future electricity generators and customers.  A significant proportion of this investment will take place in the north east, with a particular focus on accommodating the growth in offshore wind in the area.

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.

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. 

All stakeholders with an interest in the future of the north of Scotland transmission system and the transition to net zero are encouraged to respond to SSEN Transmission’s consultation, which is open until 31 August.   To view the Business Plan and all supporting documents, please visit www.ssen-transmission.co.uk/riio-t2-plan/

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