Why is new transmission infrastructure needed in the north of Scotland?

The ‘Pathway to 2030’ projects planned in the north of Scotland, are part of a major upgrade of the electricity transmission network across Great Britain.

The independent Electricity System Operator, National Grid ESO, has identified that the upgrades are necessary to help meet UK and Scottish Government climate change and energy security targets, by connecting and transporting renewable electricity generation from where it is made to where it is needed. Moving to clean, renewable, and homegrown energy is key to tackling both climate change and the energy crisis and helping meet local and national heat, transport and electricity needs.

These projects are also needed to deliver UK and Scottish Government 2030 renewable energy targets.

Map of the north Scotland with Pathway to 2030 Projects and ScotWind Offshore Developments

One of the UK Government’s responses to events in Russia and Ukraine, has been to reduce our dependence on volatile and often expensive global wholesale energy markets.

The best way to get there is by speeding up the deployment of homegrown and affordable low-carbon power, together with accelerating the development of the electricity network infrastructure that is needed to connect and transport it.

The BESS set out the UK Government’s plans to secure the country’s future energy independence and included an increased ambition for offshore wind of 50GW by 2030.

The ESO has been working in collaboration with the three transmission owners (of which SSEN Transmission is one), to enable connection and transportation of the 50GW of offshore wind by 2030 target, and have developed the Holistic Network Design (HND).

Published in July 2022, it sets out the onshore and offshore electricity transmission infrastructure required across the north of Scotland and Great Britain to deliver this UK Government target. It also outlined the technology choices to be used for the infrastructure such as overhead lines and subsea cables, with a ’Required in Service Date’ of 2030.

Accelerated Strategic Transmission Investment

In December 2022, the energy regulator, Ofgem, approved the need for these projects as part of its Accelerated Strategic Transmission Investment (ASTI) framework decision.

Our 2030 reinforcements are also key to enable the connection of the first phase of the ScotWind leasing round, which will connect 11GW of ScotWind’s total ambition of 28GW.

Useful Information

  • SSEN Net Zero Webinar

    Delivering a Network for Net Zero - Webinar Series

    Click the play button to watch the first episode of our webinar series Delivering a network for net zero – Why do we need to radically scale up the transmission network in the north of Scotland? 

    We recommend watching the recording directly on Vimeo.

    Duration: 1hr 30mins
  • Update on Pathway to 2030 Webinar

    SSEN Webinar Series

    Click the play button to watch our webinar and find out more about the Reports on Consultation, what they set out, the primary changes that have been made to the Pathway to 2030 projects following consultation feedback, and next steps for these projects.

    You can also access the slide pack here.

    We recommend watching the recording directly on Vimeo.

    Duration: 1hr 15mins
  • Man in PPE stood in front of transmission electrical infrastructure

    How has the need for the Pathway to 2030 projects been assessed?

    Find out more about the policies and targets that have been set by the UK and Scottish Government driving the need for investment in new clean power and the electricity transmission network.
  • Towers running along snowy moutainside

    Pathway to 2030 Holistic Network Design

    The Electricity System Operator, National Grid ESO, was tasked by the UK  Government to develop the ‘Pathway to 2030 Holistic Network Design’. An integrated, coordinated plan that sets out the onshore and offshore electricity transmission infrastructure required to deliver Government targets.

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