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September 2023

Bruce Morrison has forwarded an email from SSEN to community councils about its upgrades to the electricity transmission infrastructure in the north of Scotland, and announcing a series of webinars to explain the process to the public.

SSEN Transmission has launched a new webinar series – Delivering a Network for Net Zero – to share more about their ambitions to upgrade the electricity transmission network across the north of Scotland to provide energy security in the UK, and to deliver on the Government’s climate change targets. 

Our £10bn programme of upgrades, known as the ‘Pathway to 2030’, involves creating new electricity transmission infrastructure across the north of Scotland to help connect new renewable energy generation to the national grid and take it to where it will be used, contributing significantly to the country’s net zero targets, delivering energy security and helping in the fight against climate change. 

The webinars have been created to help share more information about the critical projects that are being delivered across the north of Scotland and will feature insights from the team at SSEN Transmission, as well as special guests from across the industry.     

The first webinar, titled Delivering a network for net zero – Why do we need to radically scale up the transmission network in the north of Scotland? will consider the big picture when it comes to the ever-changing use of electricity in modern society, and what infrastructure is needed to support the substantial growth of renewable energy in the UK’s energy mix as the country heads towards a net zero future.   

National Grid ESO will also be speaking during the webinar, offering their insight into the key role they are playing in shaping the GB energy system’s integrated approach and providing an overview of their Holistic Network Design (HND) which was launched in July 2022.   

The webinar is open to all, and attendees can register now on SSEN Transmission’s website. The first webinar of the series will be held on Friday 29 September between 10am and 11.30am, with questions invited to be submitted during the presentation. All webinars will be recorded and can be viewed after the event.   

Martin Godwin  Community Liaison Manager
SSEN Transmission  10 Henderson Road, Inverness, IV1 1SN
M: 07467 399 592      E:


September 2023

No bids for offshore wind in government auction

BBC News  9 September 2023   Michael Race    Business reporter

No new offshore wind project contracts have been bought by developers at a key government auction, dealing a blow to the UK's renewable power strategy.

Results showed no bids for new offshore wind farms, but there were deals for solar, tidal and onshore wind projects.

Firms have argued the price set for electricity generated was too low to make offshore wind projects viable.

Read the full article


April 2023

SSEN consultation on new power line

SSEN website -

In order to support the continued growth in onshore and offshore renewables across the north of Scotland, supporting the country’s drive towards Net Zero, further investment in network infrastructure is needed to connect this renewable power and transport it from source to areas of demand across the country.  

Following extensive system studies, Spittal to Beauly has been identified as a critical corridor in establishing this required reinforcement, connecting into new substation sites at Spittal, Loch Buidhe and Beauly along the way. Network studies have been completed demonstrating the need for a new 400kV connection between these sites, supported by the instruction to ‘Proceed’ in National Grid’s Networks Options Assessment (NOA) Report and the subsequent Holistic Network Design study.
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We would like to thank everyone who has shared their feedback so far, which will be carefully considered as we further refine our plans.  Given the extent of interest in the project and in direct response to requests from the community, we have extended the consultation period by two weeks and would encourage anyone with an interest in the project to provide their feedback by Friday 14 April.

Website and overview

Project booklet    (44 page PDF)

Transmission line route options maps

Consultation feedback form


January 2023

Centre for Sustainable Energy - a new approach to Community Energy development

(reference from Transition Together newsletter)

We are an independent national charity that shares our knowledge and experience to help people change the way they think and act on energy.

Over the past couple of years, the Centre for Sustainable Energy has been scaling up a new approach to community engagement on renewables. The Future Energy Landscapes (FEL) approach has generated community support for local renewable energy projects or plans, allowing local planning authorities to develop ambitious energy plans.

This is because the approach explores local interest in renewable energy, encourages discussions around different possibilities and provides resources and information to understand what’s possible within a local area. Because people have gone through this thought process, they’re more likely to support local plans born out of these conversations.


December 2022

UK government approves Cumbria coalmine

The UK will build its first new coalmine for three decades at Whitehaven in Cumbria, despite objections locally, across the UK and from around the world.

Michael Gove, the levelling up secretary, gave the green light for the project on Wednesday, paving the way for an estimated investment of £165m that will create about 500 new jobs in the region and produce 2.8m tonnes of coking coal a year, largely for steelmaking.

Media comment

'Cumbria coalmine approval shows Sunak does not care whether he is seen as green'The Guardian  7 December 2022  Fiona Harvey, Environment editor

'First UK coal mine in decades approved despite climate concerns'BBC News  7 December 2022  Christina McSorley, Joshua Nevett,  Justin Rowlatt.


April 2022

UK Government's energy strategy disappoints

Boris Johnson is to put nuclear energy at the heart of the UK’s new energy strategy, but ministers have refused to set targets for onshore wind and vowed to continue the exploitation of North Sea oil and gas.

Amid deep divisions among senior Conservatives, the strategy will enrage environmentalists, who say the government’s plans are in defiance of its own net-zero targets and neglect alternative measures that experts say would provide much quicker relief from high energy bills.
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Opposition parties were scathing about the strategy. Two former energy secretaries from Labour and the Liberal Democrats branded it “ludicrous” and “hopeless” for failing to expand onshore wind power or tackle energy efficiency.
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Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader and another former energy secretary, added: “The Conservatives’ failure to help people cut their bills with an urgent energy insulation programme, the failure to back super-cheap onshore wind and the failure to back properly new technologies like tidal power and hydrogen is a total betrayal of families and pensioners across the UK.”

The Guardian  Rob Davies and Rowena Mason  6 April 2022
Read the full article

Government press release

‘Major misjudgment’: how the Tories got their energy strategy so wrong
The Guardian  Damian Carrington  6 April 2022


October 2021

UK and Scottish governments' Net Zero and Heat in Buildings policies criticised

In contrast to almost unanimous criticism by environmental organisations and the intelligent press of the UK Government's recently announced Net Zero strategy as being too little too slowly, the Energy Saving Trust praised it unreservedly, raising doubts about its independence,  and the Scottish think tank Common Weal has put forward a radical proposal for a major publicly financed undertaking to insulate older buildings in Scotland.

Read more

UK Government  Net Zero Strategy: Build  Back Greener  (367pp PDF)
UK Government  Heat and Buildings Strategy  (202pp PDF)
Energy Saving Trust on Net Zero Strategy
Energy Saving Trust on Heat and Buildings Strategy

Scottish Government  Heat in Buildings Strategy
Community Energy Scotland  on the Scottish Government strategy
Common Weal 'Our Common Home' plan on Buildings


January 2022

Prospect of 25 GW more renewable energy from auction of offshore wind licenses

The Scottish government has awarded 25 gigawatts of offshore wind project development rights, more than double the UK’s existing offshore wind capacity, in one of the biggest auctions of its kind in the world.

More than half the projects, with a total capacity of 13GW, will use “floating” wind turbines, the first time that this technology, which is tethered to the seabed, will be deployed commercially at a large scale.

Financial Times  17 January    Nathalie Thomas and Leslie Hook 
Read the full article

First Minister hails “truly historic” opportunity

Details of the bids  from Crown Estate Scotland


April 2021

UK Government to allow more North Sea oil and gas exploration

Apparently undeterred by the stushie over the Cumbria coal mine, and contrary to the suggestion in mid March on the website'UK considering ban on new North Sea oil and gas exploration' - The UK government is preparing to issue a new round of oil and gas exploration licences for the North Sea.  Instead of following the lead of Denmark and France in banning new exploration licences,

the government plans to introduce a new “climate compatibility checkpoint” to determine whether each application is “compatible with the UK’s climate change objectives”.  

The checkpoint will use the latest evidence for the UK’s domestic demand for oil and gas, the North Sea’s projected production levels, the availability of clean energy, and the sector’s progress against its emissions reduction targets ahead of each planned licensing round.

If the checkpoint – to be designed later this year – suggests that future oil and gas exploration would undermine the UK’s climate goals, the licensing round would not go ahead.

 - Gillian Andrews      The Guardian     24 March 2021


The decision has angered environmental campaigners, who say the government should refuse new licences.  Ministers say permission to drill will be granted as part of a careful transition away from fossil fuels, safeguarding jobs and the economy.  

But the environmentalists say that enough fossil fuels to ruin the climate have already been found.  In light of this, they say, the government should have refused the new licences.  They add that the decision undermines the UK position as leader of the vital UN climate conference in November, known as COP26.

 - Roger  Harrabin       BBC News      24 March 2021


October 2021    Big Solar Co-op

The Big Solar Co-op is a new approach to subsidy-free community solar, supported by Sharenergy. We’re working across the UK to:

  • Make solar viable on a huge range of sites – without subsidy
  • Empower and support volunteers to work together to get it built
  • Fight the climate crisis through large-scale, grassroots community action

Learn more about how you can get involved or read about the Big Solar Co-op vision and the need for the project.


Smart Meters

Smart meter and manualWith funding from the Climate Challenge Fund, we have bought a number of electric “Smart Meters” which are available to lend to householders wanting to use them to reduce their electricity consumption. The meters are loaned out for three month periods, and participants encouraged to share experiences. Participants have found these helped them reduce their electricity consumption by up to 50%. They are currently available for loan at the community markets.
We have also linked up with schools such as Tarradale Primary, who are using the 32 meters we obtained for schools and specially designed work cards to monitor their home energy use as part of their science curriculum – this means many local households each year are using one of the meters to investigate their electricity usage.

We have an anemometer available for anyone thinking of installing a small wind turbine. Contact if interested.

Other ideas

There are any number of the other possible projects, it would be great to hear from anyone with a new idea and some time to help put it into action.


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