NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

North of Scotland electricity network 'needs £2.2bn upgrade' for net-zero

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At least £2.2bn will need to be spent upgrading the electricity network in the north to make Scotland ready for net-zero, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks has said.

SSEN - which looks after the pylons - said the investment is to meet the predicted demand for green electricity.

Lines will be upgraded from the north east to the central belt.

It will be paid for by SSEN and is expected to see annual bills for UK householders increase by about £2.

The Scottish Government has committed to reaching net-zero by 2045.

This is where all remaining greenhouse gas emissions are offset.

Rob McDonald from SSEN said: "Our network already supports over 6GW of clean power.

"But continued investment in the electricity transmission system is key to unlocking the further potential the north of Scotland can play in meeting governments' targets for net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

"Our 'Network for Net Zero' proposal is a balanced package that makes a powerful case for the vital investment needed to deliver the clean energy transition, reflecting the ambition our stakeholders have told us they want to see, at an affordable cost to consumers whilst also providing a fair return to investors."

The ambition to achieve net-zero will require the majority of cars to switch from fossil fuels to battery power.

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Image caption Climate change concerns have led to protests

The heating of homes would also need to switch away from gas.

That would require a significant increase in electricity generation from renewable sources, principally wind.

Record level

An expansion in onshore and offshore wind is forecast along the east coast but the electricity will need to be transported to the largest population centres around Glasgow and Edinburgh.

A new cable, importing electricity from Norway, is expected to be connected to the network at Peterhead in 2023.

The investment means the amount of renewable electricity which can be transmitted on the network will increase from 6 to 10 GigaWatts, enough to power 10 million homes.

New figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy show that renewable electricity generation has reached a record level.

In the first quarter of 2019, around 8,877 GWh was generated in Scotland which is enough to power 88% of Scottish households.

That represents a 17% increase in capacity year-on-year.

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