Powering Net Zero from Perth


The Perth-headquartered electricity infrastructure company, SSE, has announced a £15bn investment in Scotland’s electricity infrastructure system, due to be delivered by 2030. The ambitious project, part of the company’s Net Zero Acceleration Programme, will provide a huge boost to the country’s clean energy ambitions.

The investment update came as part of SSE’s full-year financial results for 2021/22, with the company posting strong performance in volatile market conditions thanks to its integrated business mix and balanced portfolio of electricity assets and infrastructure.

Accounts showed it invested a record £2bn as it delivered the initial stages of its Net Zero Acceleration Programme including in renewables, where SSE is building more offshore wind than anyone on the planet, constructing flagship projects such as its Dogger Bank, Seagreen and Viking windfarms, and in its thermal business, where they continued to progress ground-breaking hydrogen and carbon capture and storage projects.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, Chief Executive of SSE, said: “These results demonstrate the strength of our strategy and highly complementary business mix, the passion and commitment of our people, and our ability to deliver for all our stakeholders as we create thousands of jobs and contribute billions to Scottish GDP.

“We’ve already achieved a lot, and we’re only just getting started. Against the backdrop of a global gas crisis, we are investing far more than we are making in profit to deliver clean homegrown energy that will bolster security, cut emissions and make energy more affordable over the long term.”

SSE’s operations stretch from renewables to regulated electricity networks, and include plans to invest in key technologies including new offshore wind, critical network upgrades, carbon capture and storage (CCS), batteries and hydroelectric power.

The recent revision to its ESG commitments will ensure the company keeps pace with the bolder ambitions set out in the Net Zero Acceleration Programme.

The goals will see the company cut carbon intensity by 80%, increase renewable energy output fivefold, enable low-carbon generation and demand, and champion a fair and just energy transition on the journey to net zero.

Key Projects 2022 – 2025

The company is developing Scotland’s largest and the world’s deepest tethered offshore wind farm, Seagreen, off the coast of Angus; and what will be one of Europe’s most productive onshore wind farms, Viking, on Shetland. Earlier this year it was confirmed the business had secured rights to develop a new giant floating offshore wind farm off the coast of Angus.

The transmission business is currently constructing the electricity cable which will connect Shetland to the UK mainland for the first time in history, securing the islands’ energy supply as well as transporting renewable energy to the national electricity grid.

It is also developing the multibillion- pound Eastern Link “superhighway”, which runs 270 miles under the North Sea from Peterhead and Torness to transport renewable energy to millions across the UK.

The company is also developing flexible technologies like pumped storage at Coire Glas in the Highlands, alongside Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects at places like Peterhead.

Creating Scottish Growth

As a significant global player, SSE was the principal partner to COP26 in Glasgow and the first company globally to release a Just Transition Strategy . They are currently building more offshore wind than anyone else in the world and are leading the way on exporting Scottish capability internationally to USA, Japan, and the EU.

Assuming a continued supportive policy environment, the Group’s current investment plans will see it progress further, realising its growth opportunities and accelerating the transition to net zero, with Scotland making up the largest proportion of that.

Snow capped hills wiht clear blue skies and electrcicity pylons dotted across the lanndscape.

Night image of the Geo Thermal Power Station.

The investment in Scotland equates to almost £3,000 per head of population and independent analysis by PWC found the business contributed £2bn to Scottish GDP, supporting more than 11,000 jobs.

Importantly, the jobs being created now are predominantly highly skilled, long-term jobs aligned to the net zero transition. The company is on target to deliver around 1,000 new jobs a year for the next three years.

Net Zero, Energy and Transport Secretary, Michael Matheson, said: “Our abundant natural resources, expertise and proven track record in decarbonisation make Scotland perfectly placed to become a global powerhouse of renewable energy – as clearly evidenced by the significant investment plan from SSE.

“The coming decade will be truly transformative for our energy sector – delivering further good, green jobs and benefits for communities, and I welcome SSE’s firm commitment to playing an important role in our just transition to net zero.”

SSE Thermal Rebrand Project Great Island Campile Co Wexford Ireland 363

Investing in Scotland

• Berwick Bank potentially the world’s largest offshore wind farm off the East Lothian coast

• Multibillion-pound networks investment to connect Scottish renewables exports, enable EVs & heat decarbonisation

• Viking the UK’s largest onshore wind farm by output

• Seagreen Scotland’s largest and the world’s deepest offshore wind farm

• Nigg Towers Facility £15m investment in GEG wind tower manufacturing facility in the Highlands to grow local supply chain

• Peterhead CCS potentially one of the world’s first power stations equipped with carbon capture technology

SSE’s footprint in Perth

Home to their Corporate Headquarters and main training centre, Perth remains at the heart of SSE’s growth plans with 2,000 of their 5,000 Scottish staff based in the area.

As well as their Head Office, SSE owns several sites in Perthshire, including their renowned hydro stations in Pitlochry and Clunie, Griffin Onshore Wind Farm, and National Training Centre in the Inveralmond industrial estate.

The company is currently repurposing several floors within their Perth Campus which were recently vacated by OVO, to accommodate expansion of their Transmission business.

Gregor Alexander, Finance Director at SSE, said: “We have been headquartered in Perth since our inception and our newly expanded office is now home to around 2,000 employees from almost every function of our business. With SSEN’s networks control rooms, our renewables control room and SSE’s trading floor all located here, it is fair to say that Perth is the beating heart of Scotland’s energy system.

“Its central location, transport links and proximity to each of Scotland’s other major cities is what makes Perth the ideal home for SSE. Perth is also home to a diverse and supportive community of businesses, connected by a shared ambition to see the city become one of the most sustainable small cities in Europe.”

31 October 2022 By Oliver Johnstone