Delivering on the Promise of a Green Recovery

As we start to come out of the worst of the pandemic, a broad coalition has coalesced around the importance of a green and resilient recovery from Coronavirus. At SSE, we want to grasp this opportunity to put the UK on track to meet its climate commitments while simultaneously stimulating growth and creating sustainable jobs. We’ve already put our money where our mouth is by committing to almost £4m of investment per day on low-carbon projects for the next five years.

For this reason, we were delighted to host a webinar on Delivering on the Promise of a Green Recovery, which comes on the back of the publication of SSE’s “Greenprint” for a clean, green resilient recovery.  With an impressive range of panellists including the Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, Rt Hon. Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Director of Sustainability First, Sharon Darcy, and Chair of INET, Lord Adair Turner, and brilliantly chaired by Aurora Energy Research Chief Executive, John Feddersen, a range of issues were covered from the importance of investment in electricity networks, to hydrogen, CCS, offshore wind, and COP26.

There was a consensus that the transformation to an electricity-based energy system is the only route to a net zero economy. Electricity transmission and distribution networks are fundamental to this, with significant investment required to meet heightened electricity demands. SSEN Transmission’s plans for at least £2.4 billion of investment to help transport more green energy around the country can pave the way for this transition and Alistair set out serious concerns with Ofgem’s draft determination which would block critical investment and jeopardise the green recovery.

Hydrogen and CCS also have a key role to play. The Energy Minister indicated that the UK Government is interested in blue hydrogen because the UK has the natural resources to be a world leader in this industry. Costs have dramatically reduced in offshore wind in the past decade, and the Minister hopes the same will be achieved for hydrogen. SSE is calling for CCS and hydrogen infrastructure to be deployed in at least five clusters by 2030.

When it comes to renewables, the panellists agreed with the Minister that CfDs represent one of the most successful energy policies in the world. SSE is already boosting green investment in Tyneside and Angus thanks to auction success for our Dogger Bank and Seagreen offshore wind farms but changes to planning laws and more ambitious auctions are required to reach 40GW of offshore by 2030. Opportunities to evolve electricity market design should be considered in the Energy White Paper, expected in the Autumn.

COP26 is a crucial point in the global fight against climate change. The UK Government will put forward a bold programme in 2021 and is keen to demonstrate the UK’s global leadership in offshore wind and progress in hydrogen and CCS. SSE stands ready to play its part in ensuring this summit is a success.