‘Nowhere is the need for grid capacity more acute than Scotland’

The Loch Sloy hydroelectric power station on the west bank of Loch Lomond.

Scottish Renewables hosted its Grid and Networks Conference in Glasgow on 15 February, where Graham Stuart, UK Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, told delegates that transforming the electricity network is essential if Scotland is to achieve its ambitions for a cleaner, greener future.

The Minister also stated that reforming the electricity network will reduce consumer bills, bring local jobs, support economic growth across the country, and that planning and grid reforms are estimated to accelerate around £90 billion of additional business investment over the next 10 years.

Scotland is braced for an era of strategic planning to secure the future of its electricity network with a major shift in grid and network policy from both the UK and Scottish Governments.

Grid and network experts at today’ conference explored how the renewable energy industry can work with National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO), transmission network operators and Ofgem to deliver the fast, reliable and secure electricity network infrastructure needed to meet Scotland’s net-zero targets.

More than 200 visitors attended the event to hear from grid and network specialists including Harriet Harmon and Tessa Hall both from Ofgem, Paul Wakeley and David Wildash, both from National Grid ESO.

Speaking at the conference, Graham Stuart, UK Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, said:

“Nowhere is the need for grid capacity more acute than in Scotland.

“Scotland is synonymous with renewable energy but there can be no transition without transmission, and our plan to rewire the network will allow us to unlock all of that potential and bring enormous benefits back to Scotland.

“Through an unprecedented package of measures designed to transform our electricity network – as announced in the Autumn Statement – we will reduce consumer bills, drive local jobs, support economic growth across the country, and bring forward £90bn of investment over the next 10 years.”

Claire Mack, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said:

“Scottish Renewables’ Grid and Networks Conference comes at a crucial time for Scotland’s electricity network where strategic network planning will play a key role in enabling our renewable energy ambitions.

“Grid infrastructure is essential to the achievement of net-zero and we need pro-active strategic planning to deliver the energy transition as well as a considered conversation with the people of Scotland and the UK on the necessity and urgency of the task.

“The future of our electricity network is a key priority for the renewable energy industry and from speaking to our key stakeholders today we must take firm action at pace in order to deliver the grid and network infrastructure demanded by net-zero.”

Following the conference, the Minister travelled to Edinburgh to visit StorTera, a long duration battery specialist and member of Scottish Renewables, for a tour of its facility.

The Minster was also shown StorTera’s plans to develop a long-lasting megawatt scale battery that can operate for up to eight hours which has been supported with £5 million funding from the UK Government’s ‘Net-Zero Innovation Portfolio’.