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SPEN Preparing for Net Zero April 2022 Newsletter

Dear Stakeholder

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

EV- Welcoming the UK Government’s £1.6 billion of support under the new Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy

We have welcomed the UK Government’s announcement of £1.6 billion of funding for the country’s Net Zero future.

Released last week, the UK Government have published their new Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy – with plans to boost investment and innovation to reach 300,000 public electric vehicle (EV) changepoints by 2030 – the equivalent to almost five times the number of fuel pumps on our roads today.

The new strategy sets out the government’s aim to expand the UK’s charging network, so that it is robust, fair and covers the entire country – as well as improving the consumer experience at all chargepoints, with significant support focused on those without access to off-street parking, and on fast charging for longer journeys.

At SP Energy Networks, we’re acutely aware of the challenges and opportunities this electrified future will bring for our customers and communities up and down the country. As we look to this future – there’s one thing that’s certain… none of this will be possible without an innovative, robust and modern electricity network that will support the electrification of transport and the achievement of legislated Net Zero targets.

Put simply, there’s no Net Zero without networks.

We stand ready to support a cleaner, greener and fairer future for our customers and communities

For many drivers, the transition to EVs will be unrealistic without greater access to public charging infrastructure, with approximately 40% of UK homes unsuited for private off-road charging. And, by the end of the next decade, we expect the number of electric vehicles we supply on our distribution networks to increase from approximately 14,000 just now to 1.8 million. It is therefore essential that the government and Ofgem support a strategic plan of public EV charging infrastructure rollout, to ensure that there are no communities left behind, even where it is uneconomical for the commercial market to deliver.

As such, UK Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) like SP Energy Networks are already looking at a wide range of solutions to enable greater deployment of public chargepoints. These include substantial plans for targeted network reinforcement and the provision of flexible connections dedicated to public charging infrastructure.

An example of this is our Charge Project (opens in a new window) – its purpose is to accelerate the deployment of public chargepoints for electric vehicles (EVs) by providing stakeholders in Merseyside, Cheshire, North Shropshire, North and Mid Wales with access to information about where there will be a growing demand for public charging infrastructure and where there is available network capacity. In combination, this information will enable optimal investment locations to be identified.


As part of our Green Economy Fund, we partnered with Edinburgh World Heritage to restore and upgrade post-war tenement flats designed by renowned architect Sir Basil Spence on Edinburgh's iconic Royal Mile.
We revisited Edinburgh's Old Town to see the progress that has been made and hear more about the benefits for residents living in the tenements. The energy efficiency and conservation works improved living conditions alongside reducing carbon emissions and energy consumption by over 50% throughout the building.

Energy efficiency measures included the installation of double-glazed windows, insulation in the attic, the roof and within cavity walls, installation of LED lighting, upgrades to heating systems and improvements to the ventilation. The conservation work included repairs to concrete balconies and the exterior stairwell, which had significantly deteriorated over the years, the restoration of Spence’s original painting scheme to the exterior of the building, as well as the reinstatement of original windows.

Murray, one of the property owners, said: "The project has been a great success and turned my flat from being run down, damp and cold into a warm and healthy living space. Initiated and overseen by EWH and combining the conservation repairs together with the energy saving measures funded by SP Energy Networks, the project has brought the property into an excellent condition, made it more comfortable to live in and secured lower future running costs."

Yann Grandgirard, Climate Change Manager at Edinburgh World Heritage, said: “Implementing such an ambitious pilot project in a post-war building of this nature required an innovative approach and the support of residents, professionals, and our funders such as SP Energy Networks through its Green Economy Fund. The project helped reduce the building's carbon emissions, improved residents' comfort and contributed to the regeneration of the Canongate area as a whole.'

Find out more about this innovative conservation and energy efficiency project here.


We recently popped by the Lothian Buses depot to check up on the performance of Edinburgh's pioneering fleet of electric double-decker buses funded through our Green Economy Fund.
To help Edinburgh get closer to its net zero targets, we partnered with Lothian Buses to launch the city's first fleet of fully electric double decker buses last year. The buses have had immediate benefits to the city and the communities where they operate - helping improve air quality and supporting Edinburgh's low emissions zone. Since the launch, the buses have collectively crossed 181,500 clean, green miles, saving 1,802 tonnes of CO2, and are currently being tested on different routes around the city. Nigel Serafini, Interim Managing Director at Lothian Buses, said: “Across the last decade, Lothian has removed around 15,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from our carbon footprint through our fleet replacement strategies, and the introduction of Edinburgh’s first fully-electric double decker buses allows us to continue on this journey, further reducing our impact on the environment.

We’re delighted to have been able to partner with SP Energy Networks’ Green Economy Fund on this project and look forward to working with them again in the future.”


We have welcomed Ofgem’s consultation on the final proposals for the first two HVDC links for the UK’s east coast.

The news signals the green light from Ofgem to deliver a key component of the new transmission infrastructure necessary to upgrade the cross border network capacity between Scotland and England, in turn enabling renewal energy generated in Scotland to be delivered to where it is required. At an estimated cost of £3.4bn for the two links, the Eastern HVDC project would be the largest electricity transmission investment project in the recent history of Great Britain.

Together the two links will form an underwater superhighway capable of transmitting enough electricity for around four million homes.

Ofgem has stated there is a clear benefit to consumers to progressing with plans for the links, recognising the role they will play in helping the UK to achieve net zero and enabling renewable energy projects to continue at the pace and scale required.

Scotland’s offshore wind capacity is expected to increase significantly over the next decade and the multi-billion pound project would provide the crucial electricity capacity required to ensure the power generated can get where it’s needed.

Work to progress the links each with a capacity up to 2GW will now split into two projects. SP Energy Networks, together with National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) are working on plans to deliver the Torness to Hawthorn Pit Link whilst SSEN Transmission and NGET progress with plans for the Peterhead to Selby Link.

Frank Mitchell, CEO of SP Energy Networks, said: “SP Energy Networks has welcomed Ofgem’s consultation on the final proposals for the first two HVDC links for the UK’s east coast.

“Together the two links will form an underwater superhighway capable of transmitting enough electricity for around four million homes, at an estimated cost of £3.4bn.

“It is critical to minimise future costs to all consumers, these projects can be delivered at the pace required. We look forward to continuing to develop this project and hope to see continued momentum towards delivery of this critical national infrastructure and the clear benefits Ofgem recognise for generators and all consumers.”


We have launched a £3million upgrade programme to modernise the electricity network in Birkenhead, ensuring a safe, reliable and resilient electricity supply for customers in the area for years to come.
he investment project will remove a series of overhead lines and replace them with new modern underground cables between Birkenhead and Prenton grid substations. This will play a vital part in future-proofing the electricity distribution network for the area, delivering increased capacity to suport increasing demand from green energy. The work will benefit local communities, reinforcing electricity supplies for 98,000 homes and businesses connected to the network, as well as facilitating future needs for decades to come. The project demonstrates our continued commitment of investment across the Wirral andwill support ongoing expansion of low carbon technologies in the area.

The first phase of the works, which will involve the installation of 1.2km of 132,000 volt underground cables, will take place from week commencing Monday 18 April until week ending 26 June 2022. These activities are being programmed to minimise disruption for residents, road users, pedestrians and other stakeholders.

During this period, the following road closures are planned to be in place:

Melford Drive: 18 - 22 April
Prenton Dell Road: 25 April - 13 May
Woodchurch Road (outer lane and centre lane closed): 14 - 15 May (weekend)
Woodchurch Road (both centre lanes closed): 16 May - 24 June
Woodchurch Road (centre lane and outer lane closed): 25 - 26 June (weekend)

There are lane closures affecting Woodchurch Road, which are necessary to ensure the safety of the project team as well as members of the public and road users. Variable Message Signs (VMS) will be placed in advance of the works to inform members of the public and road users.

Our community relations team has been liaising with local residents and Councillors in the area ahead of the work and will share ongoing updates as the work continues.

The second phase of the works, which are located in Prenton Dell Road, will be confirmed at a later stage, though are expected to have a duration of three weeks.

Finally, the overhead conductor and towers that cross Woodchurch Road are programmed to be removed from September, though subject to gaining a temporary road closure for a short duration to safeguard the our teams and members of the public.

Mark Sobczak, 132kV General Manager at SP Energy Networks, said: “This significant investment and major upgrade will strengthen the existing electricity network in Birkenhead and provide a more resilient network.

“It also supports the network of the future as the region shifts to greener energy solutions, which requires a modern network capable of supporting increased demands. We are working closely with Wirral Council to minimise the disruption to the local community wherever possible.”

A spokesperson for Wirral Council, said: “This is a significant investment to upgrade the electricity network around Prenton and the wider Birkenhead area. When major works such as this take place we know it can disrupt our communities and we appreciate the patience and support shown by residents and passers-by. To try and keep disruption to a minimum, the council is working closely with SP Energy Networks to ensure the works are planned and co-ordinated around other scheduled works, including the council’s annual roads programme”


We are urging people attempting DIY to plan appropriately and follow safety advice to reduce the growing number of DIY-related electrical safety incidents in the home.

Figures from the Energy Networks Association (ENA) show that last year there was 1218 reported safety incidents due to people undertaking DIY tasks around their homes and gardens.

The spike in domestic incidents is up by almost 20% from 1032 reported incidents in 2020, as more and more people have tackled odd jobs around their property, unaware of the electrical hazards involved.

Derek Bell, Health and Safety Director at SP Energy Networks, said: “Many of us have been spending a lot more time at home and that’s led to lots more DIY projects being undertaken.

“However, there are some very real dangers associated with doing tasks by yourself and not involving experts or following the correct safety precautions.

“It’s vital that people pay consideration to these risks as there are lots of electrical hazards within the home and garden that can cause serious injury if people don’t follow relevant safety advice.”

Before you are carrying out excavation works, or installation of fence posts request free network plans and safety advice from SP Energy Network
Always assume powerlines are live – even if they have fallen to the ground, broken or aren’t sparking.

Select your machinery and equipment in relation to safe working distances and ensure it can’t come into contact with overhead power lines.

Avoid walking under overhead cables with long objects and only if required, carry long objects at a low level and horizontally when passing under overhead cables.

Do not attempt to rewire or tamper with the electrical components of appliances, leave this to an expert.

Use cable locators before carrying out any work. Check plans by tracing cables and marking their position and always scan the area you intend to excavate before you start to dig.

Always ensure that electrical items are turned off at the mains after use.
You can call the 105 number in a case of an electrical network emergency. If anyone is injured, please call 999 for medical attention.

Kind regards,

Stakeholder & Community Engagement Team

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