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  • Delivering £41 million of strategic network investment to accelerate a green recovery

    Working alongside Ofgem and industry, we’re undertaking £41 million of strategic investment in our electricity networks to support a green economic recovery and accelerate key low-carbon projects across the north of Scotland and central southern England.

  • Photo of solar panels and EV chargers
  • As a result of close collaboration with Ofgem and other electricity network operators, we’re investing £41 million in our networks, unlocking over 122MW of additional network capacity to drive economic growth, create skilled jobs and support the deployment of low-carbon projects.

    Following an extensive public call for evidence in March, we received over 150 submissions from local authorities, developers and community groups stating the case as to why extra network capacity in their locality should be targeted for priority investment over the next two years.
    We assessed this evidence against key criteria, including deliverability in the two-year time frame, to further inform the network investments that would deliver the most value for customers. As a result, 12 programmes of network investment were proposed and have now received approval from Ofgem.

    Approved projects

    The £41m investment will deliver an increase in network capacity of over 122MW during the next two years, upgrading the network to accommodate increased demand for electric vehicle charging and electrification of heat and enabling the following key projects to progress:

    North of Scotland
    • In Kirkwall, near Orkney, we will invest £2.7m in the network to install a new primary electricity substation and 16km of overhead power lines, creating 7.3MW of additional network capacity in the local area. Alongside enabling growth of electric vehicles and heat pumps, the investment will support the development of the UK’s first low carbon, operationally-based aviation test centre at Kirkwall Airport, which will conduct important electric flight trials.


    • In the Western Isles, £2m of prioritised investment will replace the existing transformer at Clachan Primary Substation in North Uist with two, upgraded transformers, increasing the capacity of the network serving around 1,300 homes and businesses on the islands. This investment will support the future connection of an electric ferry route and ensure the network is ready for the increased uptake of electric vehicles and LCTs.


    • In Dundee, £3m of strategic investment will see the replacement of two transformers and 0.3km of underground cable at Constable Street Substation, unlocking 12.8MW of green growth in the city, supporting EV charging for electric buses, emergency service EV fleet and accessible charging for the general public.


    • In Thurso, £2.8m of green recovery investment to replace transformers in Ormlie and Mount Pleasant will create 12MW of additional capacity to support the town’s journey to net zero. The investment will support projects to transform EV charging provision on the A9, at local visitor sites and for emergency service fleet.


    Central southern England
    • In Dorset, we’re investing £2.2m to create 7.2MW of extra capacity for low carbon technologies. The investment will replace 2km of fluid cable, and 0.8km of solid cable. This creates the potential for new EV charging sites and capacity for local residents’ net zero ambitions. 


    • In Oxfordshire, we will invest £7m to enable Wheatley and Witney residents’ transition to low-carbon technologies. The additional 28MW of capacity will also support the delivery of critical national infrastructure by increasing EV chargepoint availability at key motorway service areas. The works will include the reinforcing transformers, and over 10km of overhead line and 1km of underground cable. 


    • In Hampshire, three key sites will receive a combined £16m of investment to accelerate a green economic recovery. 


    • £9m will be invested in preparing the infrastructure in Rownhams for EVs and low-carbon technologies. This will create 30MW of additional capacity, enabling delivery of EV charge hubs at critical points for the UK’s transport infrastructure.  


    • Over £3.6m will be invested in North Baddesley to reinforce over 4.8km of overhead line and 100m of underground cable. This will create 12.8MW of extra capacity enabling local residents to switch to low carbon technologies.  


    • We will invest £2.9m in Bishops Waltham, creating over 5.5MW of capacity by reinforcing critical network infrastructure. This will support a rapid uptake in low-carbon technologies and accelerating a green economic recovery in the Hampshire town. 


    As part of the scheme, we will also install approximately 1,000 low voltage monitors at key points across our distribution network areas, providing near real-time visibility in areas where high levels of electricity demand from increased uptake of electric vehicles and electric heating is predicted. This will enable our teams to better manage local infrastructure, identifying how best to optimise capacity.

    Chris Burchell, Managing Director, SSEN Distribution, said:

    “We are determined to play our full part in addressing the twin challenges of the economic and social recovery from coronavirus and the impending climate emergency, where local electricity networks will play a vital role.  With COP26 on the horizon, today’s investment demonstrates how collaborative action and regulatory flexibility can help us achieve this aim and power change for our customers and society.  
    “The green recovery scheme provides a blueprint for future agile investment in our networks in the coming years, where rapid progress will be required to keep pace with net zero.  By undertaking £40 million in strategic network investment now, we are helping unlock innovative low-carbon projects at the right time, boosting local economies and supporting communities to achieve their net zero ambitions.”


    SSEN's plans are part of a £300m programme of investment announced by the energy regulator Ofgem. 


    Further information

    The full evidence gathered through the expression of interest process will being used to inform our future plans, including preparation for the next price control RIIO-ED2 which starts in April 2023, and ongoing connections process.

  • Frequently asked questions:

    My project will not be ready for the proposed Green Recovery scheme time-line, how do I avoid missing out?

    The aim of this project is to support the Green Recovery by targeting investment in networks where there is expected to be significant green activity in the next year or two. Projects which are not able to meet the timeline in this CfE will not miss out, with the opportunity to submit their evidence to DNOs for inclusion in the RIIO-ED2 business plans, which will be submitted to Ofgem and cover investment in the networks over the period 2023-2028.

    What are the most important criteria in your assessment of what will be funded? How are they weighted?

    The process for selecting sites is discussed in Section 3 of this document. This Call for Evidence is part of the overall network planning for DNOs, and will allow further evidence to be collected from stakeholders to further justify investment in that area of the network.

    What type of projects will succeed in this scheme?

    The process for selecting sites is discussed in Section 3 of the Green Recovery Call for Evidence document. We are looking for shovel-ready projects that will support the Green Recovery and address key Government policies such as net zero and the decarbonisation of transportation.

    Will an existing in-progress project be able to apply for a retrospective refund of infrastructure works?

    No – this funding is aimed at new projects that are struggling to be justified due to network infrastructure costs, rather than those that can or have already been paid for.

    If I have recently accepted a connection offer but no works have yet started, can those be suspended whilst the project is considered under this funding arrangement?

    No – this funding is aimed at new projects that are struggling to be justified due to network infrastructure costs, rather than those that can or have already been paid for.

    There are a number of options for connection point(s) for our project – is the help available to assess these to decide which to put forward for funding?

    SSEN is available for a bilateral discussion on potential projects, to help with decision making as to the best point of connection to the network. Please approach SSEN to discuss this at greenrecovery@sse.com.

    What exactly will the funding cover? Will it cover my equipment costs?

    The funding that Ofgem will make available to networks will be used to invest in the networks. This reinforcement will be targeted in areas with significant green activity, and can be thought of as strengthening the networks and/or bringing the network closer to 3rd party (green) projects, which in turn will reduce the cost of connection for those projects. The funding will not cover the costs of the 3rd party project/equipment, nor the sole-use connection assets.

    It is unlikely that I will be able to obtain all of the Land Rights and/or Planning Permission for my site within the six-week CfE period – will I be penalised and miss out?

    Not necessarily – it is not compulsory to have Land Rights and/or Planning Permission fully agreed by the time this CfE closes. However, the more information and evidence that you can provide to us the better. If this information exists, it will further evidence the fact that your scheme is shovel-ready or can be quickly deployed, which is one of the key aims of this Green Recovery scheme.

    When does my scheme have to be completed? Is it required to be finished by the end of RIIO-ED1?

    No – there is no end-date requirement for stakeholder schemes, however we are looking for committed stakeholders who have shovel-ready schemes that can be quickly deployed to support the Green Recovery. The intention is that the majority of the network investment is completely by the end of ED1 though.

    If you have any other questions not answered in the above section, please do not to hesitate to contact SSEN or Energy Networks Association (ENA) for further guidance.

  • SHEPD Green Recovery Map (Click to enlarge)

    SHEPD Green Recovery Map
  • SEPD Green Recovery Map (Click to enlarge)

    Map of SEPD Constraint area of interest
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