Delivering a network for net zero
Rob McDonald, Managing Director of SSEN Transmission
The climate emergency is undoubtedly the greatest challenge of our generation. As the transmission owner for the north of Scotland, our SSEN business has a critical role to play in helping the UK and Scottish Government’s meet their commitments to achieve net zero emissions.
Our network is home to some of the UK’s greatest resources of renewable energy - from established technologies such as wind and hydro power - to emerging technologies such as wave and tidal energy, where Scotland is leading the world in research and development.
Renewable electricity generators harness this natural ‘fuel’ and it is our role to connect those sources of renewable electricity to our network and transport that power to areas of demand across the country.
Our recently published draft Business Plan for 2021-2026, ‘A Network for Net Zero’, sets out a pathway for the north of Scotland to play its role in keeping global temperature increases below 1.5 degrees. This is consistent with leading climate change science, required to prevent the worst effects of global warming. We have set an ambitious goal that would see our network capable of transporting the renewable electricity to power 10m GB homes, a critical step in the transition to net zero.
As important as our role in connecting and transporting renewables is, it is not the sole focus of our draft Business Plan.
Firstly, our primary responsibility is the safe and secure supply of electricity to the communities who depend upon it for their everyday needs. In an ever increasingly connected world, electricity network reliability has never been more important. That’s why we have set an extremely ambitious goal of 100% reliability from our transmission network for homes and businesses, meaning no customer in the north of Scotland would experience a power cut as a result of a fault on the transmission system.
Secondly, we have a responsibility to ensure that we are delivering to meet our customers’ needs, and that our activities and investments are in the wider public interest. That’s why our customers and stakeholders must be at the heart of how we plan our network. To ensure our generation customers get the highest possible service, we are developing a new connections policy, with the primary goal of delivering 100% of our customer connections on time. We have also developed a new stakeholder engagement strategy which will ensure stakeholders views continue to challenge and shape our business.
Thirdly, we recognise we have a responsibility to tackle and mitigate our own impact on climate change, over and above simply connecting new forms of renewable electricity. That’s why we’ve set a science based goal to reduce our own green house has emissions by one third, demonstrating strong leadership in sustainability.
And finally, energy affordability remains a key priority which places a duty on us to ensure our investments are efficient and demonstrate value for money. We have set a bold goal to deliver £100m in efficiency savings through innovative approaches to our investments, sharing the savings with energy consumers across GB.
We believe this is a really ambitious plan covering five years with five clear, ambitious goals, which we will deliver for around £7 a year per GB consumer. But we really want to hear your views and encourage anyone with an interest in net zero and the future of the north of Scotland transmission system to let us know their thoughts and priorities before our consultation closes at the end of August.
To find out more about our draft plan, including how to get involved in consultation events and how to provide feedback, please visit https://www.ssen-transmission.co.uk/riio-t2-plan/