Public needs to know why we must transform our electricity network, trade body tells UK leaders
The UK and Scottish governments must urgently explain to the public why a once-in-a-generation electricity network expansion is needed, industry body Scottish Renewables has said in a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and First Minister Humza Yousaf.
In last week’s independent report on accelerating the deployment of the UK’s electricity transmission network Nick Winser, the Electricity Network Commissioner, highlighted that government must work together on this campaign.
Scottish Renewables supports the report's recommendation, which urges both governments to work with industry to explain to the public why grid infrastructure is vital to cut bills, drive economic development and in the transition to net-zero.
It is vital that information is communicated effectively to communities in areas where development is needed and community concerns must be facilitated through an efficient planning process, the industry body says in its letter.
Continuing, Claire Mack, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said:
“Increasing the production of clean power from renewables like wind and solar is the best way to cut energy bills for everyone in society, as well as insulating ourselves from fluctuations in the price of dirty, imported gas.
“Offshore wind development alone offers the greatest economic opportunity Scotland has seen in 50 years, as well as a future for those working in the oil and gas sector. Without grid, that opportunity will be lost.
“Put simply, there will be no transition without transmission.
“The renewable energy industry wants to be honest with the people of Scotland and the UK: a net-zero carbon future which delivers cheap, clean power, creates high-value green jobs and delivers transformative investment to local communities will look different.
“Government has a duty to tell people affected by the development of a new electricity grid why that change is necessary – as well as reforming planning policy to ensure their views are heard in a proportional way.
“Scottish Renewables stands ready to play our part in this once-in-a-generation opportunity.”
The UK’s electricity grid, which powers homes and businesses in every corner of our islands, is a remarkable engineering success story.
Its modernisation in the 1950s paved the way for a new era of energy production and demand, but today we stand on the cusp of a new renewable energy era of increasing electrification with which that ageing grid cannot cope.
In 1950, 56TWh of electricity was consumed in Britain. Today that figure is 300TWh, and is set to increase by 50% in the next decade. We must rise to the challenge and mirror the scale of vision and subsequent development achieved more than 70 years ago.
- Read the Scottish Renewables letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and First Minister Humza Yousaf, here.