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Pipeline of low carbon technologies in SSEN’s areas ‘biggest and most active’ to date

The network operator is expecting a surge in applications for grid connection. Image: SSEN.

The network operator is expecting a surge in applications for grid connection. Image: SSEN.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution is expecting there to be nearly 6 million electric vehicles (EVs) in its two distribution areas by 2050.

The network operator has published its annual Distribution Future Energy Scenarios (DFES), which sets out its expectations for the adoption of low carbon technologies (LCTs) up to 2050.

Since 2021’s DFES, the number of LCTs for both the north of Scotland and central southern England have increased as the push towards net zero continues.

EVs are expected to increase by almost a million from just over 5 million, following a bumper year for the technology. For example, sales of battery EVs in the UK in February 2022 rose 196.3% year-on-year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Heat pump adoption has also jumped from the last DFES, with 3.3 million heat pumps expected to be running in SSEN’s areas in 2050 from a base of less than 47,000 today. In last year's report, heat pumps were predicted to jump to just over 2.47 million, from 32,000 at the time.

Circa 2GW of distributed large-scale solar projects are expected to be added in southern England, and 2GW of onshore wind in the north Scotland by the middle of the century. Additionally, over 4GW of battery storage projects of multiple scales are expected to apply to connect to the distribution network, according to the reports.

Regen produced the reports for SSEN, using National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios as a framework.

“Undertaking this year’s DFES analysis for SSEN’s licence areas has demonstrated the scale of the net zero transition at a regional and local level. The pipeline of prospective projects and new technologies seeking to connect to SSEN’s networks is amongst the biggest and most active we’ve seen to date,” said Ray Arrell, head of technical development at Regen.

“Looking out to 2050 our scenario analysis shows transformative changes in the scale and mixture of distributed energy generation, an accelerated rollout of low carbon technologies and a significant deployment of future disruptive technologies and sources of demand such as battery storage, hydrogen electrolysis and commercial-scale data centres.”

Both the north of Scotland and central southern England DFES reports can be read online here.

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