Image credit: Scottish Power
Scottish Power has embarked on a monumental £5.4 billion green grid investment drive, unveiling a vast array of £4.5 billion worth of contract opportunities to usher in the next phase of its electricity network investment strategy.
The energy titan's SP Energy Networks division recently issued a call to action for developers keen on spearheading a wave of transformative transmission and grid enhancement projects. The deadline for expressions of interest is noon on January 31st.
"We're kickstarting the largest overhaul of the grid since its inception," said Keith Anderson, CEO at ScottishPower, in a statement. "Our investment plans will help grow our electricity networks and our workforce and will provide a massive opportunity for the supply chain whilst unlocking growth for the wider economy.
"It is vital we get serious about getting on with the job of consenting and getting this new grid built so that we can take advantage of clean green renewables, transport it around the country and, lock in our energy security and maintain the UK's track record in leading on decarbonisation."
Anderson underscored the urgency, emphasising the need to expedite the approval and construction of this new grid. The aim is to harness clean, green renewables, distribute them nationwide, secure energy stability, and uphold the UK's legacy in spearheading decarbonisation efforts.
Expanding grid capacity is pivotal in achieving the UK's climate and energy security objectives. Grid connection delays remain a significant hindrance to new renewable projects. At the same time, transmission limitations, particularly between Scotland and England, have contributed to surging curtailment costs, where renewable operators are paid to halt power export during peak generation periods.
ScottishPower has laid out extensive plans for power network expansion across central and southern Scotland. This includes the creation of new high-voltage substations, overhead line construction, and comprehensive design, engineering, and electrical works. These £5.4 billion contracts are slated to cover the next decade and aim to connect 80GW and 85GW of renewables capacity to the UK grid.
"This is one of the most significant infrastructure roll outs to upgrade the grid to support the electricification of the wider economy," said Vicky Kelsall, CEO of SP Energy Networks. "We've got the plans, and we've got the financial capital to invest, and the UK supply chain stands ready to benefit to the tune of billions."
Nonetheless, these plans face opposition in some quarters, with local resistance to specific new pylon projects. Anderson is scheduled to provide testimony to the Environmental Audit Committee of MPs later this week as part of its government plan review.