SP Energy Networks to invest £5m to help vulnerable communities in net zero drive

SP Energy Networks to invest £5m to help vulnerable communities in net zero drive

Net zero & energy secretary Michael Matheson and Vicky Kelsall, chief executive of SP Energy Networks

SP Energy Networks has announced £5 million funding to help ensure vulnerable communities, who are facing barriers in taking part in the net zero transition, aren’t left behind on Scotland’s journey to achieving net zero emissions by 2045.

The network operator has become one of the first in the UK to introduce a tailored support programme that will be key to unlocking net zero across the electricity transmission network.

The fund will provide guidance and support to charities and community organisations to improve and decarbonise heating systems, electrify transport, increase energy efficiency, and upskill communities.

Working with Energy Saving Trust, the fund will initially deliver upskilling workshops and training before helping selected projects to develop and fund their net zero plans. Eligible groups include community organisations, charities and other not-for-profit organisations that have aspirations to become cleaner and greener.

The fund is now open and looking for eligible charities and community organisations to express interest in receiving tailored support to develop their net zero plans and low-carbon project ideas. Expressions of interest can be made here.

The fund will initially deliver general knowledge-sharing sessions to help communities develop their net zero ideas and plans. Following these sessions, the fund will focus on helping community organisations, charities and other not-for-profit organisations develop their net zero aspirations and further develop their plans into tangible projects.

Vicky Kelsall, chief executive of SP Energy Networks, said: “The race to net zero is speeding up and we’re here to help communities take action now. On the road to achieving net zero in Scotland by 2045, we need to see significant changes by 2030 which means towns and cities across Scotland will need to reduce carbon emissions across heating and transport while investing in energy efficiency and knowledge building.

“The Net Zero Fund will support vulnerable communities to make proactive change to reduce their impact on the environment. It will focus on areas that are often overlooked but have the potential to unlock net zero and deliver tangible social, environmental and economic benefits.”

Net zero & energy secretary Michael Matheson said: “The scale and pace of action required to make decarbonise our energy system as part of our net zero journey is significant, and also presents a fantastic opportunity to unlock cleaner, greener and cheaper energy for communities up and down the country.

“It is vital that this transformation happens in a way that is just and fair for everyone and leaves no-one behind. It is also important that we all work together to achieve it. This is why I welcome the launch of SP Energy Network’s Net Zero Fund, which will play an important role in providing advice and support to communities to help ensure a cleaner and greener future for everyone.”

Laura McGadie, group head of energy, Energy Saving Trust said: “We’re delighted to be the delivery partners for SP Energy Networks’ innovative Net Zero Fund. This support will provide communities in Central and Southern Scotland with the tools and knowledge they need to realise their net zero ambitions. It will therefore also play an integral role in ensuring Scotland achieves its national target of net zero carbon emissions by 2045”.

SP Energy Networks owns and operates the electricity transmission and distribution network in Central and Southern Scotland, delivering power to more than two million homes and businesses.

The new fund has been established through SP Transmission, a subsidiary of SP Energy Networks, responsible for transmitting high-voltage electricity from power stations and windfarms to the low-voltage network across Central and Southern Scotland. The fund will target communities located near Transmission network investment projects which will be key to building a resilient network to deliver a net zero future.

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