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Blog - Delivering a more sustainable network

05/06/2024

Blog by Lauren McCarthy, Environmental Analyst - SP Energy Networks

Lauren headshotTo mark World Environment Day on 5 June 2024, I’m pleased to share the next in the series of blogs linked to the delivery of our RIIO-T3 Business Plan. In this blog, I discuss how we are striving to deliver a more sustainable network. If you don’t have time to read the full blog, scroll to the end or click here for the top 3 takeaways.

 

 

Introduction

As a leading electricity networks business, SP Energy Networks has a critical role to help the UK meet its ambitious climate change targets and enable the transition to a low carbon economy. Whilst we do this, we must ensure that our own activities are sustainable and that we deliver our own climate, nature and resource use targets.

Vision: ‘An electricity network for people and planet – delivering environmental, social and economic sustainability across everything that we do.’ SP Energy Networks, Sustainable Business Strategy.

Globe and two peopleOur vision is central to all that we do: it guides our business plans, underpins our innovation approaches, and shapes our day-to day operations. Our stakeholders also consistently tell us that it is not enough to simply deliver on the energy transition and achieve our own targets, we must become a sustainability leader and support our communities and supply chain to become more sustainable – and we agree.

We have committed to achieve Net Zero Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, to becoming a fully ‘circular’ business with zero waste and to restore nature in our operational areas.  We will achieve this by minimising the environmental impacts of our business and networks operations, increasing efficiency, developing a more resilient network, driving decarbonisation through our supply chain and embedding the principle of sustainability to meet the needs for current and future networks customers.

Through our RIIO-T3 Business Plan we will outline the steps we need to take towards becoming a sustainable networks business, putting forward our proposed investment in the transmission network between the years 2026 to 2031. This will generate growth, green jobs and investment, increase the security of energy supply and help to protect consumers from the dangers of climate change.
 

An Environmentally Sustainable Network

The concept of sustainability is woven through every aspect of our Transmission and Distribution Business Plans as we strive to reduce the unsustainable aspects of our activities.

In our RIIO-T2 Business Plan, the environmental package outlines ‘environmental sustainability planned investments’ of £52.3 million, embedded within our planned activity.

We are currently developing the environmental package for our RIIO-T3 Business Plan. As part of this, we are undertaking a number of stakeholder engagement activities to hear the voices of our stakeholders and ensure their views are represented in our plan.

Sustainability workshopWe host a bi-annual Sustainability Stakeholder Working Group (SSWG), the most recent of which took place  on 1 May 2024 at ScottishPower HQ and focused on our T3 sustainability plans. The event was attended by a wide range of sustainability stakeholders such as: local universities; Scottish Wildlife Trust; Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA); Zero Waste Scotland; SNIFFER and Keep Scotland Beautiful.

During this workshop, we presented a first draft of our high-level commitments for our RIIO-T3 Environmental Action Plan. The commitments range from various sustainability areas such as reducing our Greenhouse Gas emissions, nature, and supply chain. In smaller groups we asked stakeholders their thoughts on the commitments to help us shape what they should look like for the final business plan.

As well as Stakeholder guidance and feedback there are also several existing strategies that will inform the development of our RIIO-T3 Business Plan. These include our Sustainable Business Strategy, Just Transition Strategy and Biodiversity Action Plan. Read on to find out more…

Sustainable Business Strategy

Sustainable Business StrategyWe recently published a revision to our Sustainable Business Strategy, which sets out our vision and goals for delivering a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future for people and planet.

Our Sustainable Business Strategy lays out a series of actions and targets that link to the UN Sustainable Development Goals across five priority themes providing a roadmap for the business to achieve our sustainability goals:

  • climate action
  • action for nature
  • circular economy
  • supply chain sustainability
  • and sustainable society

Noted within the Strategy, some of our key environmental sustainability goals are:

  • Nature Positive for direct impacts by 2030
  • Science-based Net Zero greenhouse gases 2035
  • Zero Waste business by 2040

This Strategy is the foundation for the development of our RIIO-T3 Business Plan, as our routemaps go to 2030 and beyond. Watch this short video to find out more about the Sustainable Business Strategy.

 

Just Transition Strategy

Just Transition Strategy coverOur Sustainable Business Strategy partners with our first-ever Just Transition Strategy which we published in March 2023. This aligns our activities across four Just Transition Principles:

  • Acting as a purposeful business, taking steps to reduce our own carbon footprint and ensure our approach to the just transition holds us accountable.
  • Ensuring that we leave no one behind through support of all our customers, but particularly those most vulnerable, and taking steps to ensure fair and equal access to energy transition benefits.
  • Working together with our communities, coordinating our approach with local partners and stakeholders, whilst making sure our work empowers and invigorates the communities we serve.
  • Sharing knowledge and opportunity through investing in re- and up-skilling, and creating a positive, fair working environment for our people.

Keep an eye out for our Just Transition Strategy progress report this autumn.
 

Action Plan for Nature

Most recently, on World Biodiversity Day (22 May 2024) we published our Action Plan for Nature which outlines how we are committed to building a network that facilitates the Net Zero transition while minimising our environmental impact.

 

Stakeholder Engagement

stakeholder engagementStakeholders are key to the development of our RIIO-T3 Business Plan.  There will be engagement opportunities throughout this year, giving you the chance to shape our proposals. Complete this online form to Register as a Stakeholder.  (you can tick ‘Sustainability’ as an interest)

Members of our Independent Net Zero Advisory Council (INZAC) will also be supporting the development of our Business Plan, scrutinising both the technical plans as well as ensuring any emerging customer issues are fully considered.


The top 3 takeaways from this blog are:


Stay up to date via our dedicated RIIO-T3 page which will be updated regularly with our latest blogs, progress and opportunities for engagement.  

If you have any enquiries about our RIIO-T3 Business Plan, please email us on riio-t3pmo@spenergynetworks.co.uk      

 

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