UTILITY firm ScottishPower yesterday unveiled the largest-ever investment plan for its distribution network, spending £5.2 billion to reduce the risk of power cuts in rural areas.
The Glasgow-based firm, which is owned by Spanish giant Iberdrola, will reinforce cables and substations across the Central Belt, Merseyside and North Wales, including some infrastructure that dates back to the 1950s and 1970s.
If the company is given the green light to invest the cash by energy regulator Ofgem then it has confirmed that it will create about 2,500 jobs in its supply chain, as revealed in April.
Frank Mitchell, chief executive at ScottishPower Energy Networks, said: “This £5.2bn investment will create thousands of highly skilled jobs, as we will need a new generation of engineers and technicians to deliver the upgrades.
“We have already started recruiting and we are also investing in partnerships with educational establishments to encourage more people to benefit from the opportunities in our industry.”
The investment, which will be made between 2015 and 2023, comes on top of £2.6n being pumped into the high-voltage transmission network between now and 2021.
ScottishPower’s investment will also help to prepare the national grid for “smart network” technology, which will improve efficiency and be better able to cope with changes in the amount of power being supplied by renewable energy devices such as wind turbines.
The area covers 3.5 million customers and includes 30,000 substations and more than 65,000 miles of cables. Together with planned investment in its transmission network, ScottishPower expects to create 4,000 jobs in the next decade.