Five year, £3.2bn plan unveiled to get UK fit for a green future

01/07/2021

  • SP Energy Networks sets out plans to invest £3.2 billion between 2023 and 2028.
  • Investment is critical to the UK hitting its Net Zero targets, with the country set to see circa 30 million EVs hit the streets and 22 million heat pumps installed in homes by 2050.
  • Critical upgrades will be required to connect an additional 5GW of renewable generation as the UK revolutionises transport and heating infrastructure at speed.
  • The work will include over 800km of cables and 700 substations built, with the recruitment of more than 1,100 jobs across Scotland, the North West of England, and Wales.
  • Proposals include £30m Net Zero Fund to support innovative, low carbon community projects.

SP Energy Networks has today launched its draft RIIO-ED2 Business Plan, detailing the £3.2 billion of investment required to ready the UK for an electric future.

Running from 2023 to 2028, the draft plan sets out SP Energy Networks’ vision for a network that can meet the challenge of Net Zero across 105,000km of network and 30,000 substations and will benefit millions of customers cross Scotland, England, and Wales.

The work will kick-start the much-needed growth in low carbon technologies required to reach the UK’s climate ambitions with over 670,000 electric vehicles, 370,000 domestic heat pumps, and an additional 5GW of low carbon electricity generation connected through the five-year investment.

To help deliver this mammoth task, SP Energy Networks plans to recruit more than 1,100 green jobs, with thousands more indirect jobs supported over the five years.

Frank Mitchell, CEO of SP Energy Networks, said: “The scale of the task at hand cannot be underestimated. If the UK is to hit its Net Zero targets, we must deliver one of the largest, fastest upgrades of our critical infrastructure this country has ever seen.

“We deliver an essential public service - keeping the electricity flowing to 6 million people across 3.5 million homes and businesses. This is an important and privileged role and it’s one we never take for granted, but it is so much more than just ‘keeping the lights on’. This investment is vital and with five months to go until COP26, launching this plan shows our commitment to getting the job done for our communities across the UK.

“In RIIO-ED2, we need to respond to our customers’ changing needs as we move towards Net Zero. We’ve set out our plans to continue delivering exceptional service, supporting our most vulnerable customers, and taking on a more proactive role in our communities.

“Our customers already rate us at over 9 out of 10 for satisfaction and we plan on going even further. We will be a partner that supports their journey to Net Zero, bridging the gap from ambition to action to make sure that we leave no-one behind in the energy transition.”

At the heart of SP Energy Networks planned investment is:

  • developing a network that’s ready for Net Zero by continuing to adapt the world-class network to be more resilient and more reliable, using innovative, flexible, and efficient solutions. Innovation and efficiency embedded in the plan will save £173m for customers.
  • being the trusted partner for customers, communities, and stakeholders by engaging more with customers and communities, supporting them by offering enhanced and tailored services, and going further for vulnerable customers. A proposed £30 million Distribution Net Zero fund will support innovative, low-carbon project proposals to enable communities to realise their ambitions, and £62.5 million of social benefits will be delivered through the provision of support services to more customers than ever before.
  • readying the business for a digital and sustainable future by embedding new digital approaches, innovation, and process redesign to save customers more than £60 million and by putting sustainability first in order to reduce our carbon footprint by 38% by 2028.

Frank Mitchell explains: “When the current infrastructure was built, homes used gas or solid fuel for heating with only twenty appliances running on electricity – compared to more than fifty now. Over the next two decades, we expect to see that demand rise significantly, as millions more electric vehicles and heating systems come online.

“Our network has served us well over the last fifty years. Now is the time to invest so it stands ready to continue that service in a truly decarbonised future.”

SP Energy Networks has engaged with over 15,000 customers and stakeholders on the Business Plan and will continue to engage and consult ahead of the submission of the final plan in December 2021.

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