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SPEN Preparing for Net Zero October 2022 Newsletter

Dear Stakeholder

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


An insight into our Eastern Link project, which will see us build one of the highest capacity underwater HVDC cables in the world to help achieve the UK’s goal of zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Networks at the heart of Net Zero
The energy landscape is changing rapidly, and how we generate and use electricity is shifting. The UK and devolved governments have set ambitious Net Zero targets and if we are to have any hope of meeting those, we need to act now to decarbonise key sectors and to build the network of the future for our customers and communities.

The electricity system is crucial to this and as one of the main Transmission Operators in the UK, we have a unique and critical role to play and none more so than in enabling the growth of renewables.

Looking at offshore wind alone, the UK Government is seeking to have 50GW connected by 2030 which means we need to significantly increase the capacity of the electricity network between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

The Scottish government has also set out serious intentions for achieving its net zero targets by committing to net zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045. In addition, Scotwind, the leasing of seabeds around Scotland for windfarm developments, is expected to achieve an average of 27.6GW which utilities Scotland’s natural resources and signifies the expansion of offshore wind becoming a key component in achieving the overall UK target of 50GW of offshore wind by 2030.

And we’re facing challenges like these against a backdrop of an energy and cost of living crisis, where security of supply and cost-effective solutions are rightly front of mind across the entire industry. We need to find smarter, more agile ways to manage the electricity network to ensure it remains reliable and affordable for all.

How can renewable energy help?
Renewable energy has a big part to play in addressing those challenges. Not only will it contribute significantly to decarbonising the energy system, but there’s also the potential for it to help stabilise energy prices in future. That’s why we’re focused on developing innovative solutions and investing significantly to enable the increase in renewables connecting to our network, and Eastern Link is a perfect example.

The project, which we’re developing jointly with National Grid, will see 190km of some of the highest capacity HVDC cables in the world installed underwater from East Lothian in Scotland to South Hetton in County Durham – delivering an anticipated capacity of 2GW, which is enough to power over one million homes. It will provide a vital new energy link between Scotland and England; enabling additional security of supply for Scotland and the means to utilise significant on and offshore green energy generation.

Eastern Link is a huge undertaking with significant investment and considerable operations involved, but the delivery of a project of this size and scale will make a significant contribution to Net Zero targets and enabling a sustainable future for all.

Collaboration across the industry to deliver critical projects and initiatives like this will leave a legacy that benefits consumers and the whole country for decades to come. I for one am proud to be involved during such a pivotal time in our sector and I’m looking forward to seeing the benefits from projects like Eastern Link coming to fruition.


Insight into our the work at the Hawkshaw Native Woodland project and how our investment has supported rewilding, greenhouse gas removal and wildlife protection activities on site.

At SP Energy Networks, we are absolutely committed to our carbon impact in line with what the latest climate science shows is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and limit global warming to 1.5°C. We have set validated Science Based Targets and continue to work towards reducing our direct and indirect emissions. However, we recognise that we must also start removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere - to ensure for emissions which we currently cannot feasibly reduce.

The vision at Hawkshaw - a woodland in the Scottish Borders, managed by Borders Forest Trust - is to restore rough grazing land into native woodland, creating an important refuge for wildlife and an area of amenity for local people. The growth of native trees will remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. As the focus is on rewilding rather than commercial foresting, carbon will remain 'locked in' as the woodland matures.

Through our work to consider the impact on the local environments we operate in and to reduce or negate that wherever possible, we have worked with Forest Carbon Limited to deliver a pilot project at Hawkshaw - which will provide vital habitats for local wildlife and remove approximately 800 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in the next 100 years.

Our Sustainability Specialist, Steven Vallance, said: "We recognise the huge role operational businesses like ours have to play in building a sustainable future for our communities, which is why we're driving specific goals and commitments in this area across our own business and supply chain. We have a sustainability strategy that underpins all of our business commitments, and with plans to invest £146m across our network in the coming years to reduce the environmental impact, we will continue to support local communities with projects and initiatives like rewilding, which will remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and create habitats for local wildlife.

"It's exciting and rewarding to be able to work with industry experts like Forest Carbon Limited and charities like the Borders Forest Trust, in order to support and advocate for rewilding and nature-based solutions. Partnerships like this are necessary to deliver our ambitious commitments to build a truly sustainable network, and it's great to see some of those benefits coming to fruition at Hawkshaw."


This Wind Week (w/c 24th October), we're completing two investment projects that use wind energy to deliver a greener, more sustainable future for all.

We have connected South Kyle Windfarm to the electricity network through our New Cumnock substation. The windfarm is located to the east of Dalmellington in South Ayrshire, and this connection to the network will help us lead the way towards delivering the Scottish Government's Net Zero emissions targets.

The new connection was led by our Transmission Major Project Team and will connect 170,000 homes and businesses in the surrounding area to a constant flow of locally generated renewable energy. It will also increase network resilience and support the area's increased energy demands as people switch to greener technologies like electric vehicles and heat pumps.

We also recently completed the construction of the Cumberhead Collector Substation in South Lanarkshire, which will connect two additional windfarms to the electricity transmision network. The substation uses cutting-edge technology that significantly reduced build time and minimises any impact on the environment.

The substation loops into the existing underground cables from Coalburn substation to Galawhistle substation. Dalquhandy Windfarm is currently feeding energy into the grid with the Cumberhead windfarm to follow shortly, benefitting around 34,000 homes in the area.

Shijo Vadakkekunnel, Senior Project Manager in our Transmission Major Projects Team, said: "Homes and businesses across South Ayrshire and South Lanarkshire are already benefiting from the new clean energy supply from these connections. Enabling the connection of more windfarms onto our network is really important to help tackle the climate emergency, reduce carbon emissions and increase the UK's energy security.

"Scotland has been a pioneer in the transition to renewables and our innovations have enabled that rate of change - ultimately, helping us build a better future, quicker, for everyone."

SP Energy Networks ICE 2022/23 Workplan

We are now pleased to publish our October 2022 Update to our 2022/23 ICE Plan.

We have developed this ICE Plan in conjunction with key stakeholders and connection customers to provide actions and improvements to help facilitate connections activities for our large commercial connection customers in the Demand, Generation and UMS market segments.

Please click here to view our update.

Kind regards,

Stakeholder & Community Engagement Team

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