Climate emergency needs action and we’re ready to invest

In one years’ time world leaders will be converging on the UK to thrash out the most important climate change plan since the Paris Agreement. 

In Glasgow, at the UN’s COP 26 Conference, they’ll meet to try to agree a way to further limit carbon emissions and, what will, hopefully, be an ambitious but eminently achievable road to net zero emissions which has people and the planet as the priority. 

Climate action has never been more front and centre of the public and political consciousness and, will be a historic opportunity to gain the global coalition needed to galvanise the right response to the climate emergency. 

Two years ago we started to refocus our business to firmly be at the heart of the action needed to decarbonise the UK and Ireland.  Today, SSE has issued its interim results which demonstrate how far we’ve come in delivering on our low carbon strategy. 

In that time we’ve confirmed the end of coal fired generation in our portfolio.  We’ve welcomed HRH Prince Charles to officially open Beatrice, what is currently the largest offshore wind farm in Scotland and the deepest tethered in the world.  Through a joint venture, won contracts to build both the world’s largest offshore wind farm off the east coast of England as well as another record-breaking 114 turbine offshore wind farm in Scotland. 

These huge investments will deliver enough clean, green renewable energy to power over four million homes - putting us well on our way to our target to treble output of electricity from renewable sources.  

We’ve also published a draft business plan for our Transmission business which outlines well over £2billion of investment in the electricity grid to connect up even more clean power and transport it from the north of Scotland to the centres of population 

Every day SSE is investing around £4m in low carbon assets and infrastructure which will deliver for the UK and Ireland.  No mean feat, but we still have much more we want to do to help decarbonise electricity generation. 

The next few months will see a new Government in the UK and I know, whatever that Government looks like, we all want the same thing: bold, ambitious and faster progress to a lower carbon world. 

There’s a consensus on the climate emergency and reaching net zero but we have three asks of whoever forms the UK Government after next month’s election: 

  1. 1.      Make renewables the central plank for net zero. Higher offshore wind ambitions are needed and Government need a clear policy and investment in low carbon fuels like hydrogen and CCUS. 
  1. 2.      Make net zero the core component of Ofgem’s remit. The regulator can help drive decarbonisation and  facilitate  anticipatory investment in the electricity grid. 
  1. 3.      Support the private sector to deliver net zero.  The climate emergency needs action and we’re ready to invest.  A clear signal from Government on their net zero delivery framework will support businesses like ours to deliver the low carbon assets and infrastructure the UK needs. 

Today’s results demonstrate SSE’s strength in developing and operating world-class assets that will support a low carbon economy in the decades ahead.  We stand ready to invest and in SSE a new Government will find a willing partner to deliver net zero. 

About the author

Alistair Phillips-Davies Chief Executive

Alistair became Chief Executive of SSE on 1 July 2013. He has a degree in Natural Sciences and is a qualified Chartered Accountant. He has worked in the energy industry since 1997, when he joined Southern Electric. He was appointed to the Board of SSE as Energy Supply Director in 2002 and was appointed Deputy Chief Executive in 2012. As Chief Executive, he leads the Executive Committee and the rest of the SSE team in the day-to-day running and operations of SSE and is responsible for implementing the strategy and policy set by the Board.

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