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SPEN Preparing for Net Zero March 2022 Newsletter

Dear Stakeholder

Please find below the March 2022 edition of the SP Energy Networks ICE monthly newsletter highlighting the important work we are doing to Prepare for Net Zero.


Wales’ plans to embrace low carbon technologies has taken an important step forward after we started work on new infrastructure that will support the roll-out of electric vehicle (EV) charging across North Wales.

As the owner and operator of the electricity network in North Wales, we have started work on new electricity connections at the Rhug Estate, Denbighshire, required for the installation of new EV charging points. These will support visitors to the popular organic farm shop as well as the wider area, as more people transition to electric vehicles.

It is one of many locations that will benefit from investment in new low-carbon connections, accelerating the UK’s transition to net zero. Our Green Recovery Investment Project will see £61.7 million invested across the UK to support a green recovery.

Our work at the Rhug Estate is being delivered in partnership with the Welsh Government, which will see new capacity for vehicle charging delivered at 25 sites across Wales.

Liam O’Sullivan, our SP Manweb Licence Director, said: “It’s great to see shovels in the ground in our work to enable new vehicle charging points. This additional capacity will ensure people can travel and enjoy what Wales has to offer, with access to cleaner transport.

“As well as unlocking low-carbon capacity, we hope the new infrastructure will help to drive footfall and tourism to the Rhug Estate – a valuable local business that is already a champion of high sustainability standards.

“We’re working closely with the Welsh Government to enable electric vehicle charging as we move forward with plans across many other sites. This important project will ensure the region is at the very heart of the UK’s transition to a cleaner, greener future, and that this also brings with it economic prosperity for Wales.”

A spokesperson for the Welsh Government, adds: “We want to ensure all electric vehicle users in Wales can confidently access charging when and where they need to. We’re very pleased to see this start to take shape at the Rhug Estate and welcome their foresight in developing rapid charging infrastructure to complement their business.

“By unlocking more capacity for new EV charging points across Wales, SP Energy Networks is a key partner in our journey to achieving these ambitions by 2025. We have worked together to secure funding from Ofgem for a series of electrical connections that will help support a pipeline of similar projects across the North Wales region.

“This is an exciting moment and shows how new investment in low-carbon electrical infrastructure can help charge a green economic recovery from Covid-19 in Wales. We’re excited to be supporting SP Energy Networks throughout the delivery and completion of these projects, and to accelerate access to greener transport across the country.”


We've been given the green light to progress with £1.2m worth of projects to help tackle some of the UK's biggest and most complex network challenges. Nine projects will now move into an early trial phase where our solutions to help move the country towards achieving its Net Zero emissions targets will be assessed.

We have had all nine of our proposals - funded by network users and consumers under the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), an Ofgem programme managed in partnership with Innovate UK - approved as we seek to deliver innovation through pioneering Net Zero projects.

The SIF initiative was launched in 2021 by energy industry regulator Ofgem and Innovate UK to find and fund ambitious, innovative projects with the potential to accelerate the transition to Net Zero across the electricity and gas sectors.

Our nine projects are focused on areas critical to achieving the UK's ambitious zero emissions targets - from the decarbonisation of heat, where we see a real opportunity to both minimise the need for upgrading the network whilst reducing domestic reliance on fossil fuels for heating, to exploring the use of hydrogen and electrification solutions to enable cost effective rail travel. We have also committed to finding new ways to re-use or re-cycle assets with other industries to reduce what we send to landfill, and are building on our past innovation project successes by looking at how we can use Distributed Energy Resources (such as solar PV or battery storage) as a proactive means of enhancing the stability of the electricity network.

Graham Campbell, our Director of Processes and Technology, said: "This significant investment from the Strategic Innovation Fund shows the critical role innovation plays in us achieving Net Zero.

"These nine projects are a culmination of several months of collaboration across the industry to drive change. In 2021 we engaged with over 100 stakeholders, which has led to us now working with 27 partners including academics, industry experts, solutions providers and product delivery partners. These projects are being delivered by our industry, and we're committed to working with parties of all sizes in the wider SIF portfolio, continuing to give opportunities to SMEs."

The Strategic Innovation Fund is currently in its 'Discovery' phase for each project, where proposed solutions to industry challenges are assessed. Until the end of April 2022, our project teams will frame the challenge, quantify the benefits of our proposed solution, engage with key users and then identify the most cost-effective way to deliver it.

The projects will then apply to the 'Alpha' phase of the SIF Programme, where we would test the solutions and build a consortium before seeking funding for the final 'Beta' stage, where the solution will be demonstrated.

Alan Ross, Director of Engineering and Asset Management (Scotland) at Network Rail - a partner on our SIF projects, said: "Our commitment to a low carbon society is set out in our Environmental Sustainability Strategy, with a crucial aspect being a holistic and collaborative approach. We are delighted to see the initial success and look forward to accelerating our transition, working together with SP Energy Networks under the Strategic Innovation Fund."

Our Network Development Plan

We’ve now launched a new data publication (opens in a new window) to provide transparency on our network intervention plans and the capacity they release. This new annual publication is called our Network Development Plan (NDP) - you can have your say on it by completing our survey
Sharing data is key to the efficiency of the energy system as we decarbonise to Net Zero. It enables customers and stakeholders to assess market opportunities and network companies to promote efficient whole system planning and operation.

Our draft Network Development Plan (NDP) aims to provide greater transparency on our network intervention plans and forecast capacity headroom. Our NDP includes forecasts of how much demand and generation headroom we anticipate across our distribution networks, with details of interventions including the widescale use of flexibility and innovation.

The document will be finalised in early May, following stakeholder feedback, and updated annually.

Given that the purpose of NDPs is to share information with stakeholders, it’s important that these documents meet our stakeholders’ needs.

To make sure you can have your say, we’ve launched a survey which you can complete below. The survey will be open until 16 April 2022.

We look forward to hearing your views.

Please click here to complete the survey


Visitors to Glasgow’s Pollok Country Park will be able to explore the city’s largest park on a new 100% electric shuttle bus thanks to the funding from ourCoinciding with the re-opening of the iconic Burrell Collection later this month, active travel improvements are being introduced across Pollok Country Park to make the park even more accessible to everyone, including the free shuttle bus service.

The brand-new electric shuttle bus has been funded by SP Energy Networks’ Green Economy Fund, which has invested £20million in communities across Scotland to support the Scottish and the UK Government’s net zero emissions ambitions.

Available from the main park entrance at 2060 Pollokshaws Road, the electric shuttle bus will run every 30 minutes and link to Pollok House and the refurbished Burrell Collection once it reopens, allowing all visitors to explore the picturesque sights within the park.

The introduction of the electric shuttle bus service is part of wider investment in the park by Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Life. Other developments across the park include prioritisation of pedestrians and cyclists, path improvements, new benches and signage, a new viewing platform on Pollok Avenue, as well as provision of bike racks and a NextBike hub.

Andy Waddell, Director of Operations, Glasgow City Council, said: “Pollok Country Park is a stunning open space that is extremely popular with locals and visitors alike. Extensive work has been carried out within the park to make it a friendlier environment for walking, wheeling and cycling and we want to encourage people travelling to the park to get there as sustainably as possible.

“As part of these new arrangements, we are delighted to have a new electric shuttle bus service that will help visitors arriving by public transport to access the main attractions completely free of charge. Traffic and car parking were identified as major issues during our consultations with park users and we hope the shuttle bus service will support a change in transport choices for those visiting one of Glasgow’s most loved green spaces.”

Our CEO Frank Mitchell said: “Supporting and investing in our communities is core to what we do and we’re so pleased to be able to provide a new, free, electric bus to Glasgow’s largest park. With the Burrell collection set to open at the end of the month we hope this service will help make Pollok Country Park even more accessible and sustainable to visitors and locals alike for years to come.”

EV chargers will also be available in coming months at the Burrell Collection car park, Riverside car park at Pollok House, and Nether Pollok pavilion car park for visitors travelling in an electric vehicle to the park.


Our Future Networks Manager, Professor James Yu MBE, has joined an elite group of academic and artistic minds after being named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), Scotland's National Academy.

Renowned as being among the greatest thinkers, researchers and practitioners working in or with Scotland today, James joins 79 other new RSE Fellows as part of the 2022 intake, which recognises people from across the sciences, arts, education, business, and public life.

Honoured for his contribution to the electricity network and innovation, James' Fellowship celebrates the significant contributions he is making in the field of energy innovation.

Based in Glasgow and heading up our Innovation Team, James is responsible for the development and implementation of financially driven innovation strategies for the company.

With more than 20 years' experience in the energy industry, James is committed to driving best value transformation and innovation that will help ensure the electricity network can fully support a cleaner and all-electric future.

Recent highlights include showcasing the LV Engine smart transformer at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in front of an audience including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, HRH the Duke of Cambridge, and Bill Gates.

He is widely recognised nationally and internationally for his industrial technical contribution, much appreciated for his academic activities to ensure the industry can attract and retain great talent, and is a passionate promoter of Scottish engineering.

James said: "I'm truly humbled by this recognition and the chance to work alongside other Fellows across a wide range of sectors to show what innovation can do to sustain our planet. Developing technological solutions that will modernise our electricity networks and support people, businesses and communities to do their bit and electrify how they work, live and travel is an absolute privilege.

"I'm proud to work at the forefront of an industry where we're trusted to do things differently, develop the solutions that will make a difference and help deliver a clean energy future. This recognition is as much for my team as it is for me."

Frank Mitchell, our CEO, said: "James is an example to us all and his commitment to the industry goes above and beyond his role heading up our Future Networks team. His passion, drive and determination are an inspiration and his efforts will help ensure our network is resilient and responsive to the anticipated doubling of electricity demand as we continue to tackle the climate emergency and move towards Net Zero. We couldn't be prouder."

Professor Sir John Ball, President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, said: "It is a privilege to be able to welcome our new Fellows, and we are inspired by the breadth of talent and experience in our Fellowship. Every single individual elected this year has shown exceptional levels of expertise and insight in their chosen field, and their input helps RSE effect real and lasting change in Scotland's society."

Kind regards,

Stakeholder & Community Engagement Team

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