Today we are pleased to publish our Annual Sustainability Report 2019/20 that highlights our sustainability performance and achievements in implementing our Sustainability Strategy over the last financial year.
We are at the start of the “decade of action” - with the 2020s being the most important decade if the world is to avoid global warming increases in excess of 1.5 degrees. Over the past year we have made significant progress in delivering our sustainability plan and creating our net zero pathway for the years ahead.
In June 2019 we aligned our Sustainability Strategy to support net zero and placed tackling climate change at the heart of our Business Plan, A Network for Net Zero, for our next price control period RIIO-T2 (2021-2026). As part of our business plan, we have set leading commitments to tackle our own environmental and social impacts in our RIIO-T2 Sustainability Action Plan that have been strongly supported by our customers and stakeholders.
Our network in the north of Scotland now connects 6.3GW of renewable generation and we welcomed Ofgem’s decision earlier this year to approve the 600MW HVDC transmission link connecting Shetland to the GB mainland. Following years of hard work and ongoing stakeholder engagement from our teams, this is a significant milestone in supporting remote island renewables for the UK and Scotland’s Net Zero targets.
We also recognise we have a responsibility to take direct action to reduce our own impact on climate change and have set our ourselves extremely ambitious plans to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions. We are proud to be have become the world’s first electricity networks company to receive external accreditation for our 2030 science-based target in line with a 1.5°C global warming pathway.
To support this target, we became the first UK transmission owner to energise Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6) free technology at our Dunbeath substation in October 2019. Over the past year we have also made good progress against each of our stakeholder-led sustainability ambitions. Highlights include developing our award-winning approach to Biodiversity net gain, becoming ISO 14001 certified, strengthening our sustainable procurement requirements and creating an Engineering Professional Development Forum as part of our new People Strategy.
As we think about the last year, we cannot help but reflect on the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic since early 2020. Our overriding priority through the pandemic has been to protect and maintain network reliability to keep electricity flowing to homes and businesses while ensuring the safety of our customers and colleagues.
Looking ahead, it is an exciting time for SSEN Transmission as we work to enable the transition to a low carbon economy. Net Zero gives us a real sense of purpose and we are determinate to play a leading role in a green and resilient economic recovery.
The full annual Sustainability Report 2019/20 can be found here
By Alex Sutton, Sustainability Officer, SSEN Transmission