The Scottish Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing MSP, spoke of the importance of the networks in Scotland’s energy legacy at Energy Networks Association’s (ENA) Well Connected Reception in Holyrood, Edinburgh, last Wednesday, March 14.
The event, attended by MSPs, industry, officials and organisations with an interest in Scotland’s energy future, heard of the jobs boost to the country from the development in the energy networks.
Fergus Ewing MSP said:
“There will be unparalleled investment in the Scottish grid and to facilitate this we need to take every infrastructure case on its merits and make decisions quickly.”
Reinforcing the scale of the work, Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) CEO Frank Mitchell said:
“SPEN alone will invest £5–6bn across our networks. Our investment shows a commitment to a vital service and no industry can work in isolation of the community it serves. We must facilitate a smarter network to secure a legacy for the next 40 years and beyond.”
Highlighting the jobs opportunities created by the networks, Ian Funnell, Director of Transmission Projects at SSE Power Distribution said:
“SSE’s networks workforce has increased 8-fold, a fantastic jobs boost for the region. But the talent pool is only so big and vital skills are essential to delivering smarter networks.”
Commenting on the challenges that must be overcome, Alison Kay, Commercial Director at National Grid said:
“Certainty is critical. Certainty in the regulatory and policy environment, certainty in the planning process and certainty that the generation we need and that we’re planning for is going to be there.”
Ms Kay also emphasised that as part of this certainty we must not forget the “vital long-term role for gas”. This was something Mr Ewing also reinforced as essential to addressing fuel poverty and for providing heat for homes.