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Highlands and North-East set to lead the way in pathway to Net Zero analysis

By Rachel Smart

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Highlands and North East set to lead the way in pathway to Net Zero analysis.
Highlands and North East set to lead the way in pathway to Net Zero analysis.

SSEN Transmission – the electricity transmission owner for the north of Scotland and part of the SSE Group, the UK’s clean energy champion - has published its 2022 North of Scotland Future Energy Scenarios (NoSFES) paper, outlining its latest annual analysis on a range of potential electricity generation and demand scenarios in its network area in the north of Scotland.

Looking from now out to 2050, as SSEN Transmission works to deliver a network for net zero, the analysis shows that the East and North-East of Scotland and the Highlands will be leading the way to support the UK and Scotland’s legally binding net zero targets.

Alongside the assessment of required renewable energy growth and changes to electricity demand, this year’s scenarios also incorporate new and emerging technologies in the North of Scotland such as electrification of rail and hydrogen for the first time, to determine if and when the various scenarios will achieve net zero.

The key findings show that:

By 2030, the north of Scotland will need 24-31GW of clean, green renewable capacity to put us on the right trajectory for net zero by 2050. For context, we currently have almost 7GW of renewable generation connected to our network in the north of Scotland, demonstrating the urgency for further strategic and timely investment in supporting grid infrastructure.

- Peak electricity demand is expected to increase up to 64-87% by 2050 as electrification of transport and heat grows to support net zero targets.

- By 2050, offshore wind will become the dominant source of electricity generation in the north of Scotland in the scenarios that support a net zero pathway, ranging between 22GW and 23GW.

- Supported by National Grid ESO’s latest Network Options Assessment, in every scenario outcome the East and North East of Scotland will provide the biggest contribution to low carbon electricity generation, followed closely by the Highlands, supporting the requirement for greater, and timely, investment in the Transmission network in these regions.

- Launching this year’s NoSFES analysis at the All Energy conference today (Wednesday), Imran Mohammed, Senior Insights Analyst for SSEN Transmission explains:

“The north of Scotland will play an outsized role in the transition to net zero, contributing roughly 10% of the action required to support the UK’s emissions reduction targets, despite only representing 5% of the population.

“We’re already a net exporter of clean, green energy and our analysis shows the potential to grow this export over the coming decades, particularly in the North East of Scotland, and Scottish Highlands, as the power system decarbonises, offshore wind capacity grows through ScotWind and new technologies to reduce society’s emissions and store electricity come to the fore. To support this low carbon revolution, it’s clear that greater investment in the North of Scotland transmission network will be required - at scale and pace - to unlock the economic fortuities that this scale of investment can bring.

“While great progress has been made in decarbonising the electricity system, there’s still much to do, and timescales are tight to support zero carbon pathways. We hope that by publishing this paper we can encourage further urgency and momentum on this common goal as we work with our stakeholders to deliver a Network for Net Zero.”

To read the paper in full, and share your views please visit: https://www.ssen-transmission.co.uk/information-centre/north-of-scotland-future-energy-scenarios-nosfes/

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