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SPEN Preparing for Net Zero January 2023 Newsletter

Dear Stakeholder

Please find below the January 2023 edition of the SP Energy Networks ICE monthly newsletter highlighting the important work we are doing to Prepare for Net Zero.

First Minister visits PNDC

On Tuesday 10th January Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited the PNDC in Cumbernauld as the Scottish Government also published its new draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan for consultation.

The visit came as the centre marks its 10-year anniversary and featured an exhibition and discussions with partners and beneficiaries, both past and present, including SP Energy Networks.

The PNDC (formerly the Power Networks Demonstration Centre) was established in 2013 as a whole energy systems research, test and demonstration facility. The PNDC enables the development and deployment of novel energy and transport technologies and has been supported through government funding as well as collaborations with academic and business partners.

Scott Mathieson, NP&R Director, Iain Divers, Head of Network Planning & Development and Stephanie Anderson, Head of Regulation, met with the First Minister at the event and highlighted how the PNDC had helped to test key innovations, such as a Smart Transformer that aims to maximise the capacity of our existing network assets. Such innovations are critical to achieving the Scottish Government’s ambitious Net Zero plans.

Commenting on the Energy Strategy ahead of her visit to the PNDC, the First Minister had said:

“The imperative is clear. In this decade we must set Scotland on the path to an energy system that meets the challenge of becoming a net zero nation by 2045, that supplies safe, secure and affordable energy for all and that generates economic opportunity through a just transition.”

"The current energy crisis has demonstrated how vulnerable our energy system is to international price shocks, while laying bare the need for structural reform to ensure affordability for consumers.”

In response to the on the launch of the new draft strategy, Scott Mathieson commented:

“The First Minister’s comments reiterate once again the important work we are doing at SP Energy Networks to lead the country’s transition to Net Zero. We welcome the launch of the Scottish Government's draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, support its ambitions, and commend the integrated approach to Energy and a Just Transition given the important economic impacts of the energy transition. We stand ready to invest over £8billion in our networks within the next decade to help achieve the targets set out.

On the landmark anniversary for the PNDC, he added:

“The PNDC has been an integral part of developing and testing key network innovations, and it’s a wonderful landmark to have now reached its 10-year anniversary. It will no doubt continue to play a role in the improvement and modernisation of our networks and so it’s absolutely fitting the First Minister chose to visit on the same day the Scottish Government’s new draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan were published.”

We have completed a £45m network refurbishment project

We have completed a major network refurbishment project in East Lothian and the Borders to improve resilience of electricity supply and drive the area towards a greener future.

The £45m project covered a distance of over 40 miles between Cockenzie in East Lothian and the village of Eccles in the Scottish Borders and forms part of a wider £2 billion investment plan to futureproof the transmission network across Central and Southern Scotland over a five year period.

The 400kV route, known as the ‘ZA overhead line‘ was first erected in the mid-1960s and plays a substantial role in supplying renewable energy to around 150,000 homes and businesses in the area.

Investment in the line now helps to further increase network resilience and ensures that it continues to play an important role in years to come to support the uptake of green technologies like electric vehicles and heat pumps as we help lead the way towards Net Zero emissions targets.

Pearse Murray, our SP Transmission Director, said: “This project forms part of our extensive investment programme, and highlights the unique role we play in connecting renewable generation. Our transmission system is a key enabler for ensuring security of supplies throughout the energy transition, so maintaining resilience of that is absolutely critical.

“This refurbishment is a significant milestone which will help increase network capacity for many homes and businesses across the region and it further underlines our commitment to investing in and enhancing our infrastructure to help meet Net Zero emissions targets.

“I’d like to thank the local landowners and communities for their continued cooperation throughout the project to ensure that it could progress with minimal impact on the surrounding areas.”

The project commenced in November 2020 and involved the inspection and refurbishment of around 190 towers, with over 788km of conductors and insulators replaced.

The project team worked closely with local landowners and authorities to ensure disruption to the surrounding environment and community was kept to a minimum throughout the duration of the project.

Best Company at the 2022 Planet Mark Awards

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve been crowned Best Company at the 2022 Planet Mark Awards.

Planet Mark is an internationally recognised sustainability certification, which is awarded to businesses that are committed to reducing their carbon emissions. It recognises continuous progress towards climate action.

We were recognised for our continuous commitment to and role in the green energy transition and outstanding results in reducing our carbon footprint in all aspects of our processes. Over the last decade, we have reduced our own direct carbon footprint by almost half and are committed to reducing carbon emissions by 67% by 2034/35.

As well as the Best Company Award, we were also thrilled to receive the Milestone Award, celebrating our continuous six years of Planet Mark certification.

Vicky Kelsall, SP Energy Networks’ CEO, said: “Receiving these awards is testament to SP Energy Networks’ continuous commitment to reducing its carbon footprint across all operations.

“We look forward to continuing our journey as a socially responsible company and leading the way to Net Zero emissions goals”.

Steve Malkin, CEO and founder, at Planet Mark said: “We would like every member of the Planet Mark community to commit to net zero. We want Planet Mark to be at the centre of a net zero ecosystem where you and your business are aligned with your customers, suppliers and organisations near and far beyond. It is a tremendous opportunity to drive change and transform your business, society, the environment, and the economy”

BSI Kitemark

We have become one of the first businesses to achieve certification to the British Standards and Improvement Company’s (BSI) new Inclusive Service Kitemark, underlining our commitment to supporting vulnerable customers.

The BSI has created the Inclusive Service Kitemark to recognise organisations that provide an inclusive and flexible service that benefits all customers, regardless of their personal circumstance.

Topics such as the identification of customer vulnerability, inclusive design of products and services as well as methods of data collection and protection are all assessed to ensure a business is creating an inclusive service for all.

The Inclusive Service Kitemark provides a framework to help organisations and employees understand the underlying factors related to customer vulnerability, and work to develop and implement processes and collaborate with partners to overcome any challenges they may face.

Kendal Morris, Customer Service Director at SP Energy Networks, said: “We’re committed to providing a fully inclusive service for all our customers so I am delighted that our efforts have been recognised by becoming one of the first businesses to achieve the Inclusive Service Kitemark.“More than ever before, it’s important to recognise and support vulnerable customers through fair, flexible and inclusive services that ensure the best possible outcomes for them.

“I’d like to thank BSI for the recognition and look forward to using the framework to ensure we continue to not only maintain but continue to innovate to provide a service suitable for all.”

Additionally, the Kitemark aligns with regulators including Ofgem, Ofwat FCA, United Regulators NI and their strategies which aim to encourage organisations to do more to safeguard customers in vulnerable situations.

To achieve the BSI Inclusive Service Kitemark, organisations are assessed by an expert auditor against the BS ISO 22458 standard and scheme requirements. This is a two-part assessment, which also includes a programme of ongoing monitoring to ensure continued compliance with certification requirements.

Open Networks Project

We are really proud to have contributed significantly to the success so far of the Open Networks project and of the development of the flexibility market here in the UK

From running regular flexibility tenders, to launching the UK's first demand shift flex trial with domestic customers and investing £5.7million in our FUSION innovation flex project we have a real focus on flexibility as a critical part of our network management 'toolkit' here at SP Energy Networks.

Read more about our work as part of Open Networks and what's next for the project by clicking here.

Kind regards,

Stakeholder & Community Engagement Team

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