Energy giant SSE has unveiled plans to create more than 850 jobs in its distribution business as it works to restore power to thousands in the wake of Storm Arwen.
SSE, which owns Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution, said the new roles were part of proposals to ramp up investment to £4 billion in the north of Scotland and central southern England between 2023 and 2028.
The move will see SSE become the biggest constructor of offshore wind in the world and will increase the amount of renewable energy produced by four gigawatts (GW) over the period.
It said the extra investment, representing a one third increase, will be delivered without increasing customer energy bills.
Accelerating net zero plans
It comes as part of the wider SSE group’s aims to invest £12.5bn over the five year price control period and accelerate its net-zero plans.
SSE will deliver a quarter of the UK’s 40GW offshore wind target by 2030 and more than a fifth of the UK’s electricity networks investment.
Under the SSEN business plan, which has been submitted to regulator Ofgem for approval, the division aims to cut its carbon footprint by 35%.
It also plans to facilitate the connection of 1.3 million electric vehicles and 800,000 heat pumps on its network.
Investment ‘rubber hits the road’
SSE chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said: “Collectively, SSE is investing nearly £7million each day, enabling over 20% of the upcoming UK electricity networks investment, the delivery of over 25% of the UK’s 40GW offshore wind target and so much more to help the UK and other governments decarbonise.
“With the UK committing to an accelerated net-zero timeline ahead of COP26, this is where the rubber hits the road and we see huge growth in our distribution business as it brings net zero to the front door.”
SSE has resisted calls from activist investor Elliott Investment Management for a break-up, instead focusing on its green spending drive funded by a dividend cut and asset sales.
It is set to sell a 25% stake in SSEN Distribution, as well as SSEN Transmission, likely to be early in 2023-24.
The Perth-headquartered company is working in partnership with Japanese conglomerate Marubeni Corporation and Danish fund management company Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP).
SSE Renewables has a majority stake in the Beatrice offshore wind farm, which is currently Scotland’s largest.
At noon on 1 December, SSE confirmed that 6,400 customers currently remained “off supply” due to Storm Arwen, with those affected mainly in “more rural and isolated communities” in Aberdeenshire and Moray.