That was the year that was. 2019 in Review

As the year draws to a close, we’ve taken a look at some of energy industry and SSE’s highlights over 2019, as we delivered more of the low carbon infrastructure the UK and Ireland need for the future.

In a year that saw climate action propelled into the public consciousness and embraced by world leaders alike - all thanks to 16-year-old Greta Thunberg - a number of poignant energy records have been set which epitomise the scale and pace of change.

May saw the longest coal free streak in history as GB was powered for an entire fortnight by much greener forms of generation.  The country also set a new record for wind power on 7-8th December with turbines providing a staggering 38.5 percent of electricity over the course of the weekend.

The great news is this is only the start.  With September’s CfD auction reaching record low prices and contracting over 5.5GW of offshore wind, the GB energy system is well on its way to decarbonisation with more cleaner, greener power replacing old polluting generation throughout the country. 

This weekend saw the handover of the reigns to the UK of the world’s key climate diplomacy event, Conference of the Parties (COP).  In September, it was announced the COP26 talks would be held in Glasgow next year, which will see the country on the world stage, attempting to build consensus on tackling the climate emergency. 

For SSE, a pivotal moment in the year was the confirmation in May that a net zero by 2050 target would be enshrined in UK law, committing the country to an ambitious decarbonisation programme which will change the face of how we use energy in the UK forever.  SSE had long argued for the target to be set in stone in order to focus intentions from Government, industry and support the public in understanding how vital the move to a low carbon economy is if we are to put people and the planet first.

SSE is focused on developing low carbon assets and infrastructure to support that move to net zero, and that’s why in March we also linked our long-term objectives to the UN Sustainable Development Goals to drive change by 2030.  Building more renewables, helping get more electric vehicles onto the road and doing it all in a responsible way that supports society, are core components in the transition.

Over the next week we’ll be taking a look at SSE’s highlights of the year; from investment in electricity transmission and distribution, the demolition and closure of coal-fired generation, to the plans for the world’s largest offshore wind farm at Dogger Bank. 

To kick us off we’re turning the clock back to the start of the year when our Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks Transmission business completed construction and energisation of Caithness-Moray electricity transmission link – one of the largest investments ever undertaken by SSE plc.

The link uses HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current) technology to transmit power through a 113km subsea cable beneath the Moray Firth seabed.  Constructed over a period of four years, the project provides up to 1,200MW of capacity to transmit power from the increasing sources of renewable energy from across the far north of Scotland, demonstrating SSE’s focus as a leading provider of infrastructure to enable the transition to a low carbon economy.