A blog by Rob McDonald, Managing Director of SSEN Transmission

Today we’ve published our 2020/21 Annual Performance Report (APR), which presents an accessible and transparent summary of our business performance over the last 12 months. You can read our full report here.

This year’s APR presents a timely opportunity for us to reflect on what we’ve achieved in the past year – and throughout the last price control - as we wave goodbye to RIIO-T1 and embark on RIIO-T2, which comes at a critical juncture in tackling the climate emergency. I’ve outlined some personal highlights from this year’s report below:

  • Firstly, we’ve continued to deliver an exceptionally strong operational network performance in 2020/21, despite the challenges associated with the coronavirus pandemic. This is all thanks to the commitment of our employees right across the business who have worked tirelessly to ensure the needs of our customers, communities and wider stakeholders are met, safely and efficiently. Throughout this challenging year, we’ve continued to ensure a robust and resilient supply of green electricity from the north of Scotland to power businesses and communities all across GB, maintaining a reliability factor of over 99.9%. I’d like to extend a huge well done to all of our staff who enabled us to deliver such a powerful operational performance, in such challenging circumstances.
  • Secondly, we quickly adapted the way we work to continue safe delivery of our critical network infrastructure on time and on budget, whilst protecting our communities. As we work to deliver a network for net zero we’ve seen several significant projects completed in the past year including critical network upgrades at Melgarve, and replacement of the Inveraray to Port Ann transmission line in Argyll; strengthening local security of supply whilst also connecting the renewable energy needed to support the UK and Scotland’s legally binding emissions reduction targets. We also celebrated construction kick off on the Shetland HVDC link, which will connect the renewable rich archipelago to the GB system for the very first time. In the past year alone, despite covid related challenges, we’ve invested over £430m in our network. Again, a huge well done to all the teams and our contractors involved for their hard work and dedication.
  • Thirdly, our commitment to power change has never been stronger. Delivering net zero emissions and preventing the worst effects of climate change has been at the heart of everything we’ve delivered this past year. In 2020/21, we became the world’s first electricity networks company to receive external accreditation for a science-based target in line with a 1.5°C global warming pathway, as well as being a proud signatory of the UN’s Race to Zero campaign. We’ve also been working hard to roll out innovative SF6 reduction technology at a number of sites and continue to implement our sector leading biodiversity net gain strategy across our portfolio of projects. We’re ahead of the pack when it comes to tackling our own operational carbon footprint, and we’ll continue to build on this ambition.
  • Fourthly, in delivering the above, our stakeholders have continued to be at the heart of everything we do as we deliver a network for net zero. And this is clearly reflected in our stakeholder-led advocacy work this year on transmission charging and offshore wind coordination. As we help to power transformational change in the GB energy system, we’re also committed to creating a positive legacy in the communities in which we live and work.

While we’re proud to report another strong operational year for SSEN Transmission, we also recognise the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. From now until 2026, we plan to invest at least £2.8bn, potentially rising to over £4bn (subject to regulatory approval) to put us on a pathway to net zero – almost doubling the volume of generation connected to our network from around 8GW today to around 14GW in 2026 as we deliver a network for net zero.

Six months into RIIO-T2, and just weeks away from COP26 (of which we are a proud principal sponsor through SSE’s group endorsement) we’re focused on delivering another powerful year for our customers, communities and the climate.


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