ScottishPower welcomes members of the Scottish Parliament’s Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee to the UK’s largest onshore windfarm and the national control room for its electricity network in central and south Scotland.
The Committee visited SP Energy Networks’ control room in Glasgow city centre before heading out to Whitelee Windfarm on the outskirts of the city as part of its inquiry into Scotland’s electricity infrastructure.
The inquiry is scrutinising what electricity infrastructure is needed to realise the ambitions set out in the Scottish Government's Draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan and what will be required to deliver that infrastructure.
SP Energy Networks’ 24/7 control room monitors and maintains the supply of electricity to 2 million customers across the network area in Scotland, coordinates fault response, and supports homes and businesses impacted by power cuts. The control room also plays a crucial role in emergency preparedness and responses to weather-related incidents.
Scott Mathieson, Network Planning and Regulation Director at SP Energy Networks said: “A safe, secure and reliable electricity network is at the heart of a cleaner and greener future for us all. We welcomed the chance to highlight the industry-leading work we’re doing to create the innovative, robust and modern decarbonised electricity system that will enable a net zero future for our communities, and also outline what’s needed to ensure we can move that forward at pace and with purpose.“
Whitelee is the UK’s largest onshore windfarm, with 215 turbines producing 539MW of homegrown green electricity – enough to power the equivalent of more than 350,000 homes.
Barry Carruthers, ScottishPower Renewables Managing Director for Onshore, added: “Renewables has never had a more a critical role to play in supporting not just energy security, but system resilience. This was a great opportunity to set out how renewables can provide not just the clean energy, but also the critical grid services and flexibility to enable an all-electric future where green generation and a smart grid work together hand in hand.“
The visits to the two sites gave committee members the chance to learn about the critical role of electricity infrastructure in Scotland's net zero journey as well as how onshore wind technology works in practice, how it integrates with the electricity network, and the challenges and opportunities involved in scaling up renewable energy production.
Speaking after the visit, Fiona Hyslop MSP, Deputy Convener of the Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee, said: “We were very pleased to visit the SP Energy Networks control room and get a hands-on understanding of the challenges of maintaining a secure supply of electricity in real time to households across central and southern Scotland.
“It was also fascinating to visit Scotland’s largest onshore windfarm at Whitelee. Further advances in renewable energy and battery storage will be needed as an increasingly important part of Scotland's energy mix, and we are keen to understand how the sector can continue to grow and thrive in the years to come.
"This visit has given us a greater understanding of both the challenges and opportunities involved in scaling up renewable energy production across Scotland and we’ve gained valuable insights into grid capacity through our discussions with the industry experts and representatives from ScottishPower.”