View in browser
Header General 6
SPEN Preparing for Net Zero May 2022 Newsletter

Dear Stakeholder

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


We have launched phase two of our FUSION trial in St Andrews, East Fife, using flexibility services to balance constraints on the electricity network.

We are utilising our flexibility platform - provided by OpusOne Solutions - to manage real-life network constraints in the area. This follows the project's landmark achievement last year of delivering GB's first Universal Smart Energy Framework (USEF) compliant flexibility market, which has been live and operational since September 2021.

This latest phase of the live trial will test enhanced functionality on the digital platform. Engie Power and Orange Power (known as ‘aggregators’) will continue to act on behalf of customers to trade their electricity consumption and generation ‘flexibility’ in this digital marketplace, in turn helping maintain the smooth and cost-effective running of the network in East Fife.

Customers are becoming increasingly dependent on their electricity supply as we make the transition to net zero, heightening the need to maintain and operate a network capable of supporting modern lifestyles. Innovative projects like FUSION allow for the network capacity to be maximised in a way that helps to defer or avoid the need for costly and time-consuming traditional reinforcement – in turn helping to keep costs as low as possible for customers.

Customers from the first phase of the FUSION trial, like the University of St Andrews who were able to be flexible with their demand across their entire campus, were able to take advantage of the commercial opportunity to participate whilst we sought to maximise the capabilities of our network.

The FUSION project supports developing flexibility markets to help maintain and strengthen the resilience and security of the electricity network as demand increases for low carbon technologies like electric vehicles and electric heating systems. This presents commercial opportunities for flexibility providers and ‘aggregators’ to participate in the market and to be a part of the journey to decarbonise the energy system.

Graham Campbell, our Director of Processes & Technology, said: “Following the successful first phase of our FUSION project, we’re really pleased to launch phase two and to be using our learnings from phase one to help set the foundations for a greener future in the UK and beyond.

“We continue to see increasing volumes of low carbon technologies connecting to the electricity network resulting in increasing demand on our infrastructure. We’re committed to finding agile ways to meet this demand and flexibility allows us to do exactly that without the time and cost constraints of traditional network reinforcement.

“We’re proud of the work we are doing in developing flexibility markets and how these can be used to deliver the network of the future for our customers and communities.”

Justin Ma, Director of Operations at Orange Power, said: “We’re pleased to see the FUSION project has really increased awareness and understanding of energy flexibility amongst customers, and that the its modern approach to commercial and residential demand flex has given us access to exciting innovation opportunities to reduce customer energy bills whilst helping balance the grid.

“FUSION has enabled customers to participate in the flexibility market with minimum disturbance to lifestyle, and in fact will help to enable the increased uptake of low carbon technologies like electric vehicles and electric heating in our homes of the future. We are really looking forward to phase two of the project which is exploring further innovative methods to enable the best customer experience possible for those participating in grid flexibility.”

The University of St Andrews is one of the partners taking part in the second phase of the FUSION trial to help decarbonise the energy network.

Alexander Clark, Sustainability Services Manager at the University of St Andrews – a partner on the FUSION project - said: “The FUSION project has allowed the University of St Andrews to automatically identify and dispatch flexible capacity across their entire campus, and to commit to doing so for the long term. We’re pleased to be able to make this significant commitment to network decarbonisation.”


Edinburgh College has officially opened a new Renewables and Energy Efficiency Training Centre aimed at helping people save energy in their homes, thanks to funding from our Green Economy Fund.

The new facility will see students, apprentices and industry professionals learn how to use cutting edge equipment and develop skills required to build low energy homes, and to modify existing homes to become more energy efficient.

Equipment featured in the new centre includes: ground source heat pumps, air source pumps, solar thermal systems, rainwater and greywater harvesting, SIPS eco panels, underfloor heating systems, and latest gas appliance condensing boiler technology supplied by Worcester Bosch.

The focus for the centre is to train students and apprentices in these technologies, while also supporting those in industry to reskill and upskill, using high-class equipment under the guidance of Edinburgh College lecturing staff.

The centre has been funded by SP Energy Networks’ Green Economy Fund and managed via the Energy Skills Partnership (ESP). In order to manage the project, ESP established the Energy Efficiency Training Network comprising of nine colleges to launch new training centres across Scotland.

Edinburgh College Vice Principal, Jonny Pearson, said: “It’s a privilege to open our new Renewables and Energy Efficiency Training Centre at our Granton Campus.

“The centre will provide students, apprentices and those within the supply chain with access to a state-of-the-art place to learn new and existing technologies. It is incumbent on us as one of Scotland’s largest colleges to play our part in ensuring those in industry can embed these skills early in their careers, understand them and start to use them to build houses for the future – helping the nation to move towards net zero.

“Our thanks go to SP Energy Networks, Energy Skills Partnership, Worcester Bosch and other partners for the support in creating this new facility.”

Jillian Violaris, Green Economy Fund Manager at SP Energy Networks, said: “Edinburgh College’s new Renewables and Energy Efficiency Training Centre will support the skills needed to help the country achieve net zero emissions. Rapid change will be needed across the nation in the coming years and the new training hub will support the development of the next generation of green experts that will deliver it.

“When establishing the Green Economy Fund, it was clear that delivering clean energy transition in our communities would require a future workforce with the right skills, that’s why education plays a vital role in the move to a low carbon economy.”


We have has successfully completed a £60million investment project to modernise and reinforce the electricity network in Ayrshire and Southwest Scotland.

The improvement works at Kilmarnock South Substation will support the growing demand for greener technologies, including electric vehicles and decarbonised heating such as heat pumps, both of which will be pivotal as the country pushes towards achieving its bold net zero emissions target.

Work began in 2016 to increase the resilience of the local power network and ensure that it remains reliable for decades to come, while also able to support the demands of future developments and connections in the region.

Kilmarnock South Substation is situated to the Southeast of Kilmarnock and plays a crucial part in the electricity transmission network, forming a hub for a number of key overhead lines. The project saw a sizeable extension added to the existing substation footprint, allowing for two additional high voltage facilities to be built that substantially increase its electrical power capacity. The work has also resulted in the replacement of ageing equipment with modern, efficient technology.

Pearse Murray, Transmission Director at SP Energy Networks, said: “The £60million upgrade project we’ve completed allows us to transport clean energy from Ayrshire and Southwest Scotland across central and southern Scotland and beyond, supporting renewable energy solutions and ensuring a secure and reliable electricity supply now and for years to come.

“The upgrade responds to the increasing demand for electricity as we play a central role in net zero targets, preparing the way for the significant future requirements and the growth involved in home use and electric vehicles going forward. I’m very proud of the work the team has carried out, which ensures we work towards a greener future for our communities.”

Kilmarnock South Substation joins a number of other SP Energy Networks substations across the country that have been upgraded to accommodate additional green energy and become more efficient with similar work both ongoing and planned across more of the network operator’s other substations.

SP Energy Networks has been working closely with communities across Ayrshire, keeping them up to date as the project progressed and work at the substation took shape.


We have led a successful trial to re-energise its electricity network by using pioneering technology to tap into renewable energy from wind turbines and hydro generation.

We conducted the trial in Galloway as part of the second phase of a world-leading project to show how the range of smaller energy sources could be used to restore power in the highly unlikely event of a partial or total shutdown of the national electricity transmission system.

Traditionally, wide scale system recovery in such a scenario has only been possible by utilising large fossil fuel power systems.

However, the Ofgem-funded Distributed ReStart project - which is a partnership between SP Energy Networks, National Grid ESO and specialist energy consultancy TNEI - is exploring the use of Distributed Energy Sources (DERs) such as solar, wind or hydro, to kickstart the energy system.

This latest trial saw us connect a hydro generator in Kendoon and power wind turbines across two small wind farms at Glenchamber and North Rhins to re-energise the network in an isolated test.

The ground-breaking trial paves the way for a radically different approach to system restoration, using renewables to help to reduce costs and drive the country forward towards Net Zero emissions targets.

Scott Mathieson, our Network Planning & Regulation Director, said: "The increasingly complex needs of our energy system, coupled with the significant increase in both demand for green electricity and generation our networks need to accommodate, means it is crucial we ensure its continued security and resilience.

“We’re really encouraged by the success of this latest trial on the Distributed ReStart project, which could be vitally important, not just in Scotland and the UK, but worldwide.

“Using DERs and green energy to restore the energy system would increase the diversity of providers, helping to save millions of pounds in costs for customers thanks to a more competitive market. It can also save hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions by negating the need for coal and gas power stations, therefore pushing us forward on decarbonisation plans as we strive to reach net zero emissions.

“We know our customers are becoming increasingly dependent on their electricity supply for all of their activities, whether it’s heat or transport, which is why we’re absolutely focused on ensuring we build the network we know they need now and long into the future.”

SP Energy Networks leads the live network trial workstream on the Distributed ReStart project and delivered this test in collaboration with National Grid ESO. Coordination was therefore not only required between the National Grid ESO and SP Energy Networks control rooms, but also in the coordination of multiple operational resources and people in preparation for and during the live testing.

Julian Leslie, Head of Networks at National Grid ESO, said: “We have one of the world’s most reliable electricity networks, but our role is to be prepared for the most extraordinary of scenarios, including a nationwide power outage.

“This trial is a breakthrough moment for our Distributed ReStart project, which stands to improve system resilience and security of supply in a cleaner and cheaper way.

“We are always innovating for a greener future and the huge growth of green energy sources on distribution networks presents an opportunity to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and co-ordinate a black start using renewables.

“The concept of meeting our grid restoration needs by renewable generation alone has become closer to reality as a result of this trial.”

Read more about the project here: Distributed ReStart innovation project


More than 3,000 vulnerable people across Scotland have benefited from 150,000 grocery deliveries as Food Train expanded its electric delivery fleet following funding from our Green Economy Fund, boosting critical services to tackle food poverty.

Food Train, which received more than £450,000 from our Green Economy Fund for nine new state-of-the-art electric vehicles, supports vulnerable people in communities across Scotland by providing a lifeline grocery delivery service.

Since receiving the funding, the charity has expanded its services to make daily life easier for older people across the country. It uses the brand-new electric delivery vehicles to provide vital services including supplying groceries to those who are no longer able to manage independently due to age, ill health, frailty or disability.

As well as growing the service, moving to electric vehicles has also reduced the carbon footprint of Food Train, with the organisation’s carbon emissions per electric delivery vehicle approximately two thirds less than their old diesel vehicles.

Our CEO Frank Mitchell said: “We’re extremely proud to support Food Train and the work they are carrying out to help vulnerable people in communities across Scotland. Investing in our communities and helping vulnerable customers is core to what we do, so we’re pleased to provide a fleet of state-of-the-art electric vehicles to allow Food Train to carry out their work more sustainably.

“The Scottish and UK governments have ambitious plans to achieve net zero emissions and investing in community projects like this makes big strides towards a cleaner future for all of us. We created the Green Economy Fund to help those who need it most – ensuring no community is left behind as the UK benefits from moves to cleaner and green energy. The Food Train project is a great example of the difference our funding can make for vulnerable people and the environment.”

Michelle Carruthers, Chief Executive of Food Train, said: “We’re delighted to have support from SP Energy Networks to expand and sustain our services using the fleet of electric vehicles. Giving a helping hand to vulnerable people in communities across Scotland is at the heart of what we do – now we can say the service helps the environment too.”

Food Train operates through teams of dedicated local volunteers who go that extra mile by helping with household jobs, delivering books through the charity’s library service and providing much needed friendly social contact and meals through its Meal Makers and befriending services.

Food Train serves nine regions across Scotland including Dumfries & Galloway, West Lothian, Stirling, Dundee, Glasgow, Renfrewshire and the Scottish Borders. With the latest green additions to their fleet, Food Train has recently introduced services in East Renfrewshire and Clackmannanshire. Supporting these communities is essential and with the help of the Green Economy Fund they can now do so sustainably.

As part of expanding its ambitious project to support and protect vulnerable people, Food Train has extended its support to other local authority areas via its new Food Train Connects service, which matches older people requiring a helping hand with a volunteer living nearby.

Further information on Food Train services and how to sign up as a volunteer is available at


We’re delighted to announce the launch of our partnership with Wrexham AFC, which will see us become Official Sponsor of Wrexham AFC’s Boys and Girls Centre of Excellence and Powerchair Football team.

The two-year partnership runs until Summer 2024 and will focus on creating inclusive opportunities in football and help boost diversity in the next wave of sporting talent in the local area.

Liam O’Sullivan, SP Manweb Licence Director at SP Energy Networks, said: “We’re passionate about supporting the communities we serve and through the partnership with Wrexham AFC we want to help break down the barriers that prevent some people from becoming involved with football, while promoting health and well-being.

“We’ll work closely with Wrexham AFC over the next two years to drive community engagement and I’m very proud that the partnership will play a role in supporting girls, boys and Powerchair football teams. I’m looking forward to seeing participation continue to develop over the coming years and I can’t wait to get along to support the teams.”

Wrexham AFC CEO Fleur Robinson said: “We’re pleased to welcome SP Energy Networks as the Club’s Official Headline Community Partner and thoroughly look forward to working alongside them moving forward.

“This partnership is a fantastic illustration of the continuing appeal of the Club and supports the desire of our co-chairmen to make a positive difference to the wider community in Wrexham.

“Furthermore, this is a clear sign of the Club’s commitment to promoting inclusion and participation, and we’re delighted that SP Energy Networks will be supporting us in this area.

“We are the first Club in Wales to offer Powerchair Football, and we are delighted as part of this partnership to welcome SP Energy Networks as the team’s first Official Sponsor as we continue to promote football for all.”

The Wrexham AFC Community Trust aims to utilise football, other sports and physical activities to improve the health, wellbeing and safety of individuals in Wrexham and North Wales.

Through a range of programmes, run both independently and also through schools, the Wrexham AFC Community Trust’s goals include introducing and enhancing skills in football; increasing participation in football and regular physical activity; improving the literacy level and ability of young people and other target groups; using football and physical activity to improve educational attainment, self-confidence and community cohesion; and promoting safety in our community.

Programmes include Girls Football Hubs, Walking Football, weekly Fun Football Sessions for primary-age children, Huddle girls’ football sessions and, during school holidays, Autism-Friendly Football.

As part of this new partnership, the Wrexham AFC Community Trust will also now undertake delivery of SP Energy Networks’ Powerwise Programme, which provides interactive learning resources to help children and young people learn about the dangers of electricity. The programme supports the school curriculum in Wales to deliver power safety advice.

Gavin Jones, Chair of the Trustees of the Wrexham AFC Community Trust, said: “We are pleased to welcome the partnership introduced by the Club with SP Energy Networks.

“As with many in similar situations, the pandemic had a big impact on the activities of the Community Trust. As we come out of the other side, all involved look forward to continuing to make a positive difference to the Wrexham community.

“SP Energy Networks’ Powerwise Programme is a really exciting example of how we can use partnerships to enhance the impact we make in our community.”

Have your say! Join our Online Stakeholder Community to be kept in the loop!

We would love to have you onboard our Online Stakeholder Community.

Follow the link here to register now. Here is what we have to offer:

A platform for all of SPEN’s stakeholders to collaborate and share ideas on current topics and events.

You will be able to read news that we post, on the front-page news feed, similar to how you use social media.

We seek to post new content roughly every fortnight to keep everyone up to date with what is happening with SPEN.

You will be able to share your views by voting on polls or taking surveys that we post, where your feedback is greatly valued and will help SPEN understand what is important to key stakeholders like yourself.

You will be able to comment on posts to share your own ideas and engage with other stakeholders’ views by replying to comments or using the agree and disagree functions.

You will be able to post your own discussion, to share news related to SPEN, and generally engage with one another.

Kind regards,

Stakeholder & Community Engagement Team

Contact us at
Sent by SmartMailer
SP Energy Networks is committed to protecting the privacy of all our stakeholders. We are duty bound, as part of our regulated business operations, to provide relevant information to our stakeholders and offer the opportunity to engage with us at any time. We are sending you this invitation because you are an important stakeholder to us. If for any reason you would like to unsubscribe from future newsletters/emails, or wish to manage your subscriptions preferences, please click here to unsubscribe.