SSEN Distribution becomes the first electricity distribution network to set 1.5°C-aligned science-based targets

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution has set ambitious targets to reduce its carbon emissions, demonstrating its climate leadership by being the first UK Distribution Network Operator to set science-based targets in line with a 1.5°C pathway.

The targets are in line with the level of decarbonisation required to meet the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement – to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Verified by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), the network operator will strive to cut emissions further and faster by:

  • Committing to reduce its combined Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 55% by 2033 from a 2020 baseline by reducing the environmental impact of its infrastructure, tackling electricity losses, reducing its reliance on diesel generation, electrifying its own vehicle fleet and building a sustainable, green electricity network that has a positive impact on society.
  • Understanding the impact of its indirect emissions, SSEN Distribution has also set a voluntary target, committing to working closely with its supply chain so that 35% of its suppliers will have a science-based target set by 2026.

Welcoming the accreditation of its ambitious targets, Chris Burchell, Managing Director of SSEN Distribution, said:

“Earlier this year, the IPCC delivered a stark warning – the world is running out of time to limit global warming to 1.5°C. As a key enabler for the energy transition, at SSEN Distribution we’re leading by example and taking steps to reduce our own carbon footprint and the impact we have on the environment.

“We’re proud to be the first UK Distribution Network Operator to set 1.5°C-aligned targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative, ensuring our actions and ambitions align with the latest climate science via a globally-recognised and trusted platform. We’re taking accountability for our own impact and supporting our supply chain to do the same, putting us on a credible and transparent pathway towards achieving net zero.

“Our ambitious £4.1bn draft RIIO-ED2 business plan provides a significant opportunity to achieve a just transition, building a sustainable, green electricity network that creates meaningful societal value as we tackle the climate crisis and power communities to net zero.”

Alberto Carrillo Pineda, Managing Director, Science Based Targets at CDP, one of the Science Based Targets initiative partners, said:

"We congratulate SSEN Distribution on setting science-based targets consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C, the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement.

"By setting ambitious science-based targets grounded in climate science, SSEN Distribution is taking action to prevent the most damaging effects of climate change."

SSEN Distribution will report progress against these targets within its annual environmental report and in annual reporting to the regulator, Ofgem.

Following the SBTi’s accreditation of its science-based targets, SSEN Distribution has now published ‘Delivering Sustainability in SSEN’, its ambitious sustainability strategy which addresses the challenge of climate change at its core.

To find out more and read ‘Delivering Sustainability in SSEN’, please visit ssen.co.uk/sustainability.

About the author

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.

Read more articles by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks