SSEN’s stakeholders call for network operators to prioritise electric vehicles

Yesterday, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) hosted an event to discuss its plans to support the electrification of transport and renewable generators to take advantage of its flexible connection offer. Two thirds of attendees voted in favour of SSEN prioritising capacity for electric vehicles (EVs) to support the delivery of the UK’s decarbonisation goals.

The event provided an opportunity for connections stakeholders to tell the network operator that serves them what they wanted prioritised and for SSEN to explain its role as a neutral market facilitator, which allows customers to engage with the energy system in new and exciting ways. This includes generating and selling excess energy back to the grid and trading energy at a localised level.

As part of its ‘flexibility first’ commitment, SSEN considers flexible options such as small scale renewables when addressing network constraint prior to investing in traditional network reinforcement. This creates opportunities for smart energy technology to compete with and complement traditional forms of energy network infrastructure such as new pylons, cables and transformers.

Alex Howison, Flexible Solutions Manager for SSEN said:

“There is a significant amount of change taking place in the UK’s electricity networks and stakeholder events like these are critical in maintaining a dialogue with the households, businesses and communities our network serves.

"SSEN is seeking to use smarter solutions to deliver a cost-effective, secure and reliable service, and ensuring the customer experience of engaging with the energy system is simple and easy to understand. I want to thank everyone for attending this event and making it a success.”

SSEN has committed to investing in network flexibility and its infrastructure to accommodate 10 million EVs on Great Britain’s roads by 2030. SSEN colleagues explained how take-up of EVs is not uniform, leading to clusters of EVs already appearing in some areas. This poses challenges to the network operator as some areas may need investment long before there is widespread adoption of EVs.

Richard Hartshorn, SSEN's EV Readiness Manager said:

“The electrification of transport will be critical if the UK is to meet its 2050 net zero emissions target. Ensuring we understand and can accommodate the changing demands of our customers is a key priority for SSEN, making events like these invaluable.”

SSEN is also setting ambitious internal targets to support the transition, having joined the Climate Group’s EV100 initiative and committed to switching 3,500 of its fleet vehicles to electric and installing charging points for its employees.

This event is part of a programme of stakeholder engagements that are held throughout the year to gather feedback that informs SSEN’s commitments to improve services to our customers. The next events on EV charging and flexible connections are:

  • Grangemouth, Scotland on 9th October
  • Basingstoke, England on 14th November (for local authorities)

To see a full list of SSEN’s stakeholder events and sign up, please see: 

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Van on rural road

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks

We're responsible for maintaining the electricity networks supplying over 3.8 million homes and businesses across central southern England and north of the Central Belt of Scotland. We own one electricity transmission network and two electricity distribution networks, comprising 106,000 substations and 130,000 km of overhead lines and underground cables across one third of the UK. Our first priority is to provide a safe and reliable supply of electricity to the communities we serve in Scotland and England.

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