UK-based energy company SSE announced a series of initiatives today, aimed at advancing the company’s net zero ambition. The company announced plans to triple its renewable energy generation by 2030, along with an aspiration to add 1GW a year of new renewables capacity by the second half of the decade. Additionally, SSE announced the publication of a “Just Transition” plan, aimed at helping protect workers and communities as the UK moves towards net zero.
The company stated that the new initiatives are being launched as Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled the UK’s 10-point plan to build back greener and attract private sector investment in decarbonisation, and following the company’s confirmation earlier this week as a Principal Partner to the UK Government on the COP26 UN climate conference.
SSE is one of the biggest investors in low-carbon infrastructure in the UK and Ireland, and is currently leading development of more offshore wind than any company in the world. The company’s renewable energy projects include a 50% interest in the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Dogger Bank, which it is developing with Norway’s Equinor, and a 49% stake in Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm at Seagreen.
Alistair Phillips-Davies, SSE Chief Executive, said:
“Today is an important day, not just for us as we publish our results and our low-carbon investment plans, but for anyone who supports the effort to tackle climate change as the Prime Minister sets out his welcome 10-point plan to build back greener.
“As we seek a recovery from the effects of coronavirus, investments in low-carbon infrastructure that help stimulate the economy, boost jobs and level up regions while tackling climate change are a win-win.
“We’ve led from the front on the green recovery, creating over 1,000 jobs through our low-carbon projects and with more to come as we support efforts to build back greener. And with clear policy signals from government and the regulator, we can do more.
“We have a portfolio of options that are second to none and a strong balance sheet that supports our plans to develop, own and operate the infrastructure that is so badly needed to build a better world of energy.”
According to SSE, the company is the first to publish a Just Transition plan. The plan aims to address the social implications of delivering net zero, with aspects including jobs and training, and working with communities to ensure no one is left behind in the energy transition. The initiative sets out 20 principles which SSE will follow to ensure that the impacts from the decisions it takes are fair and that it maximise the opportunities for communities to benefit from net zero.
SSE’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Rachel McEwen, said:
“The transition to net zero will be transformational and there are fantastic opportunities to clean up our energy systems and generate economic prosperity.
“The rapid move towards net zero brings a risk that some people are left behind – perhaps those without opportunity to reskill into the low-carbon industries or unable to access the benefits of the new energy system.
“We are clear that it is in everyone’s interests that fairness is baked into net-zero transition plans. We are equally clear that companies like SSE, have a role to play.
“It means working to attract people from high-carbon industries to low-carbon roles, actively supporting greater diversity in our workforce, and anticipating how we can enable vulnerable customers to engage in new smart electricity systems.
“With considered intervention through advocacy, partnership action and thoughtful policies and practice, SSE can help bring about positive social consequences and contribute to a just transition to net zero.”