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Energy firm to reduce emissions by a third

By Sarah Roger

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SSEN TRANSMISSION, the energy firm responsible for the transmission network across the north of Scotland, is taking steps to reduce its carbon emissions by a third.

Wind turbines and SSEN transmission tower.
Wind turbines and SSEN transmission tower.

The Perth-based company has committed to a reduction of one third in their greenhouse gas emissions by March 2026, by rolling out a £16.9M programme of work to cut down on carbon emissions.

This 33% reduction is consistent with a net zero emissions pathway and puts SSEN Transmission on the trajectory to meet their 2030 science-based target.

A Science Based Target is a target for greenhouse gas emission reductions that is set based on the level of reduction that science says is required to prevent the catastrophic effects of climate change. Basing these targets on 1.5°C climate change scenarios means that they are based on the Paris Agreement’s most ambitious goal.

Whilst the most material impact it has is through connecting and transporting clean renewable electricity across the north of Scotland and beyond, SSEN Transmission is also putting their responsibility to take direct action to reduce their own impact on climate change front and centre, including re-assessing their existing sites to see where emissions can be reduced.

Energy use at SSEN Transmission substations accounts for the largest controllable greenhouse gas emissions on the network, at 66.9% of total emissions. SSEN Transmission substations are powered directly from the power that flows through the transmission network. With around 130 substations (with the number set to increase) that adds up to a lot of electricity - around 23 times more power than is used in all of SSEN Transmission’s offices, warehouses and depots.

In order to reduce emissions across SSEN Transmisson substations and sites, teams are looking to:

  • Install new energy-efficiency measures in up to 83 substations and office areas. This includes ensuring spaces are properly insulated, with energy saving heating controls installed and switching lighting to LED equivalents where appropriate.
  • Installing PV Solar Panels across 44 locations, meaning substations can run from their own electricity sources, allowing more clean energy to return to the power grid.
  • Introducing two 22kW EV chargers at 32 grid substations, and installing a further 98 remote charging points for cars and operational vehicles, to support plans to switch 50% of the fleet into electric vehicles by 2026.

Vic Stirling, director of Network Renewals and Customer Connections at SSEN Transmission, said: “Delivering net zero emissions and preventing the worst effects of climate change is at the heart of our business. And this includes reducing our own operational carbon footprint to create a greener grid. We’re putting this into action by making changes to the way we work and cutting our emissions by a third – which is one of our five clear goals we set out in our Network for Net Zero Business Plan in 2021.

“Every kWh of electricity used in powering our substations is a kWh of clean energy that doesn’t get transmitted to the rest of the UK.

"This is avoidable waste - we can do something about it. As such we’re rolling out a £16.9M programme of work to cut down on our carbon emissions, starting with ensuring our buildings are as energy efficient as possible to ensure we’re doing everything we can to save energy."

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