ScottishPower has unveiled £5.4 billion of contract opportunities as it kickstarts the “largest overhaul of the grid since its inception”.
ScottishPower said the supply chain contracts offered by its SP Energy Networks business is the company’s “biggest issued contract opportunity ever”.
The company said the move will see “major investment” in green jobs and energy infrastructure to bolster the grid for decades to come.
With demand for electricity set to double in the next 10 years, the International Energy Agency estimates the UK will need more than 350,000 miles of new or upgraded electricity lines.
‘Massive opportunity’ for supply chain
Announcing the contract offers, ScottishPower chief executive officer Keith Anderson said: “We’re kickstarting the largest overhaul of the grid since its inception.
“Our investment plans will help grow our electricity networks, grow our workforce and will provide a massive opportunity for the supply chain whilst unlocking growth for the wider economy.
“It is vital we get serious about getting on with the job of consenting and getting this new grid built so that we can take advantage of clean green renewables, transport it around the country and lock in our energy security and maintain the UK’s track record in leading on decarbonisation.”
However, the development of new infrastructure is leading to increasing opposition from rural communities, highlighting the challenges of meeting net zero targets.
To make the rollout of critical infrastructure more palatable, the UK government proposed offering offering households near new pylons and electricity substations up to £10,000 off their bills over a decade.
Industry body Scottish Renewables is also highlighting the issue, recently calling on the UK and Scottish governments to explain to the public why a “once-in-a-generation electricity network expansion” is needed.
Strategic transmission infrastructure
As part of the grid overhaul, SP Energy Networks is encouraging companies to bid for contracts to design, develop and upgrade new and existing strategic transmission infrastructure.
SP Energy Networks CEO Vicky Kelsall said the project is one of the most significant energy infrastructure roll outs to upgrade the grid to support the electrification of the wider economy.
“We’ve got the plans and we’ve got the financial capital to invest, and the UK supply chain stands ready to benefit to the tune of billions,” Ms Kelsall said.
ScottishPower said the £5.4 billion worth of contracts will cover the next decade and includes transmission projects across central and southern Scotland.
“It will help move more green energy across the country to help deliver a low carbon future, connecting 80-85GW of clean renewable energy to the GB transmission system and reduce the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels,” the company said in a statement.