COP26: Developing a truly sustainable network


A blog by Steven Vallance, Sustainability Specialist

With COP26 coming to Glasgow in November, companies from across Scotland, the UK - and the world - are positioning themselves as leaders in the fight against climate change. But how many can claim to be truly sustainable at the core?



As a transmission and distribution network operator, SP Energy Networks has the complex task of building and renewing the grid infrastructure, playing a critical role in delivering the UK’s ambitious climate change targets and enabling the transition to a sustainable, Net Zero future.

To support renewable integration, electric vehicles and the decarbonisation of heat, our network will require significant reinforcement and we will need to develop a smart network capable of facilitating the complex energy systems of the future. We’ll adapt our world-class, resilient network to withstand the effects of climate change and deliver sustainable value for current and future customers.   

In 2013 we set ambitious carbon reduction targets for 2023 and 2030. Since then, we have reduced our business carbon footprint by almost half, achieving our 2023 target 7 years early. We are now in the process of aligning our carbon reduction targets to the UN’s Science Based Target initiative, reducing emissions across all scopes, at the reductions consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5° - and assessing how quickly we can reach net zero.

In order to support these ambitious carbon reduction targets, we have committed to replacing our fleet with electrical vehicles where practical, which will drastically reduce our operational emissions.

We are continuing to reduce energy consumption in our depots and substations as well as working to reduce losses across our network and increasing the efficiency of our network through innovation.

We are embedding carbon management into the way we design and develop our infrastructure projects, focusing on carbon reduction initiatives right at the start of our projects, maximising reduction potential.

We are working closely with our supply chain to develop innovative low carbon solutions, encouraging low carbon materials and construction methods and working to overcome the technical challenges associated with integrating SF6 free equipment onto our network.

By driving low carbon initiatives throughout our business and embedding carbon management into the way we design, build and maintain our infrastructure, we are working to solve the whole puzzle, not just part of it - building a truly sustainable network.

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