Reports explore local impact of net zero

Net zero will see the number of electric vehicles (EVs) increase from 30,000 today to over 5mn in SSEN’s distribution area alone, according to a set of reports.

On 15 January, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) published two reports, undertaken by REGEN, exploring the impact of a net zero future in the north of Scotland and central southern England. It further found that the number of heat pumps will grow from 32,000 to over 2.47mn, while local renewables are expected to rise from 5GW in 2019 to 17.8GW. This would see enough local renewable energy to power almost 5.5mn homes every year, with solar alone able to power 1mn homes per year.

In the north of Scotland, in particular, projection headlines include the distribution network connected sola, wind, hydro and marine generation capacity potentially rising as much as 285% to around 8.8GW in 2050; a potential 24MW of hydrogen fuelled generation operating by 2050, as well as the capacity of hydrogen electrolysers connecting reaching 124MW; battery storage projects connecting to the network growing to as much as 1,200MW by 2050; and 603,000 domestic properties, along with 47,000 non-domestic properties operating a type of heat pump.

As for Southern England, key findings include a huge number of EVs being on the roads, reaching 4.3 to 4.8mn within the 2040s, meaning around 3.3GW of EV charging capacity by 2050; the total capacity of battery storage projects connecting to the network reaching just under 2GW; a 390% rise in collective distribution network connected solar, wind, hydro and marine generation capacity, reaching 9GW in 2050; and the number of hydrogen electrolysers connecting to the network reaching 911MW.

Both reports have been published online, with SSEN intending to share the findings with local authorities, regional stakeholders and the UK and Scottish governments, helping to inform and target investment decisions. Andrew Rope, SSEN’s Distribution System Operation Director, stressed data sharing will be “critical” in the journey to net zero.