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SSEN Distribution to Invest £41 Million in Its Electricity Networks

June 28, 2021
A call for evidence to find shovel-ready green projects that can be accelerated by network investment over the next two years.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution has opened a call for evidence to find 'shovel-ready' green projects that can be accelerated by network investment over the next two years.

The U.K. and Scottish governments have both committed to a green economic recovery from coronavirus, calling on industry to rise to this challenge. In collaboration with Ofgem and other electricity network companies, SSEN Distribution has drawn up plans to unlock early investment in its networks to support the technologies of tomorrow to be delivered today, driving green jobs and green growth across the north of Scotland and central southern England.

On Feb. 8, SSEN launched a six week call for evidence in its electricity distribution areas in central southern England and the north of Scotland for local authorities, developers, and other parties to state the case as to why extra network capacity in their locality should be targeted for priority investment. There was a particular interest in evidence about locations where network investment could be made quickly to support shovel-ready developments that underpin the transition to a net-zero carbon emissions economy in line with government targets.

There was up to £300 million (US$417.3 million) available across Great Britain and tens of millions of pounds for the north of Scotland and central southern England to be allocated to network investment that would enable the delivery of fast-track green developments. Investments generated from this opportunity would be directed to the most efficient projects or those who would be able to demonstrate 'least-regrets' expenditure, which could make a real difference ahead of the next investment period, RIIO-ED2, which starts in April 2023.

Evidence was gathered throughout the six-week call period, which closed on March 19, and used to determine which sites and schemes met the core criteria for accelerated network investment:

  • Utilization (for example, how much of the electricity network capacity might be used in the near term)
  • Deliverability (for example, how quickly infrastructure and solutions could be completed)
  • Value for money (including wider societal benefits that could be achieved)

Following the call to evidence process, SSEN Distribution submitted its green recovery investment plans to Ofgem for approval and a final decision was to be made in May.

Chris Burchell, managing director, SSEN Distribution, said: "At SSEN, we are committed to supporting an inclusive economic recovery from coronavirus while taking action to accelerate net zero. By unlocking early network investment where we know it will enable green growth, this scheme will help create jobs, boost local economies, and drive further progress toward a zero-carbon world.

"We look forward to receiving input from stakeholders through the call for evidence process and working in collaboration to help deliver the net zero ambitions of the communities we serve."

Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: "The United Kingdom's energy system is one of the most advanced in the world and through the prime minister's Ten Point Plan and our Energy White Paper, we are ensuring that it is also the greenest so we can eliminate our contribution to climate change.

"Unlocking investment in the grid is vital to speed up the development of clean, green technologies that cut emissions and create thousands of jobs as we build back greener."

Jonathan Brearley, chief executive of Ofgem, said: "With the clock ticking on the United Kingdom's race to hit net-zero carbon emissions, we cannot afford to delay in building a clean energy infrastructure that will help power our transport and heat our homes emissions-free.

"We're urging electricity network companies to come forward with fresh new sites for green investment, starting work quickly, to help kickstart the green recovery."

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