Whole System Approach

In the past, providers of electricity, gas, water, industry, transport, housing, and local services (among others) made plans independently. Now, net zero targets drive the need for these providers and others to collaborate across a ‘whole system’ that accelerates the decarbonisation of society and delivers services more efficiently.

As part of this, SSEN’s Distribution System Operations (DSO) will be key to achieving an increasingly decentralised and low-carbon energy system. By planning and delivering cost-effective network solutions with sight of wider system needs, we can help facilitate local and national decarbonisation to 2050 and beyond.

SSEN is embedding a whole system approach across its entire business that embraces opportunities to collaborate with others to enhance consumer benefits and societal outcomes, while driving efficiencies in the energy system. This whole system way of thinking is a cornerstone of our Net Zero Strategic Development process, which aims to provide the network capacity needed for net zero.



This whole system approach is also backed up by a regulatory commitment. Based on stakeholder feedback, and as part of our RIIO-ED2 business plan, we published a Customer Value Proposition. In this, we have committed to provide support to Local Authorities, within our licence areas, to develop a coordinated and effective delivery strategy for whole system and net zero initiatives that interact with our network.

Our whole system approach is not just limited to local authority engagement though. We are keen to engage with stakeholders across our licence areas to understand their needs in the net zero transition, ensuring that our plans are fit for purpose.

The links below provide further information on specific workstreams that comprise our strategic whole system approach.

Whole System in action

  • Forecasting future needs of the network

    To understand how our communities’ needs of the network will evolve moving forward, we produce our annual Distribution Future Energy Scenarios (DFES).

  • Our strategic network planning process

    We publish information on our strategic planning process to demonstrate transparently how we make decisions to meet the network’s capacity needs.

  • Local area energy planning

    We support local authorities in our licence areas to develop a coordinated and effective delivery strategy for whole system and net zero initiatives that interact with our network.

  • Whole system energy solutions for the Scottish Islands

    We are planning and delivering whole system solutions for our communities on the Scottish islands.

  • Documenting our whole system activities

    Our Whole System Coordination Registers document our collaborative approach to delivering whole system solutions for our customers and the wider electricity system.

  • Local Energy Net Zero Accelerator (LENZA)

    We're building LENZA to empower local authorities in planning their pathways to net zero.