Distribution arm of SSE charges towards net zero future with multi-billion investment plan

The distribution arm of Scottish energy giant SSE has set out a multi-billion pound business plan to “power communities to net zero”.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSE ) Distribution, which incorporates the Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution brand, powers some 3.8 million homes and businesses in communities across the north of Scotland and central southern England.

The UK and Scottish governments have set binding targets to reduce carbon emissions to address the climate emergency, committing to net zero by 2050 and 2045 respectively. The local electricity networks are seen as a key enabler of this change.

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In SSEN’s distribution network areas, electric vehicle ownership is forecast to increase from about 30,000 today to five million by 2050 with 2.5 million heat pumps installed during the same period.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution, operating as Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) and Southern Electric Power Distribution (SEPD) under licence, powers 3.8 million homes and businesses in communities across the north of Scotland and central southern England. Picture: Stuart Nicol Photography
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution, operating as Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) and Southern Electric Power Distribution (SEPD) under licence, powers 3.8 million homes and businesses in communities across the north of Scotland and central southern England. Picture: Stuart Nicol Photography

The firm, part of Perth-headquartered SSE Group, said its stakeholder-led plan balances the need to accelerate investment in the smart and flexible electricity networks that will meet new decarbonisation demands, while keeping costs down for consumers.

Among the goals set out in the draft business plan for 2023 to 2028 is a commitment to reduce the frequency and duration of unplanned power interruptions by a fifth, while also facilitating the connection of an additional 1.3 million electric vehicles and 800,000 heat pumps. It has proposed £4.1 billion of investment in its networks and services over the five-year period.

Chris Burchell, managing director, SSEN Distribution, said: “The need to transform our energy system to address the climate emergency has never been clearer and it is critical that local electricity networks are an enabler rather than a constraint as we work toward a shared net zero future.”

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