SSEN Transmission calls for £2.2bn to help network boost net-zero aims
The electricity network operator in the north of Scotland says it needs to invest at least £2.2 billion over the next five years to meet the growing demand from renewables.
SSEN Transmission has published what it calls "ambitious plans" for the future of the north of Scotland electricity transmission system.
The energy regulator Ofgem determines the level of investment as part of its price control processes. The latest price control – named RIIO T2 – looks at investment required from 2021 to 2026, taking into account the view of electricity generators and customers.
SSEN Transmission argues that, with the region home to some of the UK’s greatest resources of renewable energy, it will be at the forefront of the country’s fight to tackle climate change, connecting up more renewable energy and transporting it across the country.
It cites the commitment from both the UK and Scottish governments to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and 2045 respectively, saying there is a "growing consensus" to decarbonise the economy to mitigate the worst effects of climate change.
Rob McDonald, managing director of SSEN Transmission, said the plans were a blueprint for continued investment in the flexible, safe and secure, low-carbon electricity network needed to help achieve these goals.
He said: “Our network already supports over 6GW of clean power but continued investment in the electricity transmission system is key to unlocking the further potential the north of Scotland can play in meeting governments’ targets for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
“Our 'Network for Net Zero' proposal is a balanced package that makes a powerful case for the vital investment needed to deliver the clean energy transition, reflecting the ambition our stakeholders have told us they want to see, at an affordable cost to consumers, whilst also providing a fair return to investors.”
In the draft plan, SSEN Transmission sets out that a minimum investment of £2.2 billion is required over the five-year period to maintain and grow the north of Scotland transmission network to meet the needs of current and future electricity generators and customers. A significant proportion of this investment would take place in the north-east, with a particular focus on accommodating the growth in offshore wind in the area.
It is anticipated additional investment would be required to deliver the transition to net-zero, but this investment would only be released once there was certainty it was needed.
To deliver its plans, SSEN Transmission estimates its average cost to the consumer over the RIIO-T2 period would be around £7 a year.
Consultation with stakeholders will continue until August 31 before the firm submits its final plan to Ofgem in December.