Scotland needs more pylons now, says trade body

23/08/2023
Nick Sharpe (Scottish Renewables)

SCOTLAND urgently needs more pylons, power lines and substations to cut energy bills, create energy security and tackle climate change, Scottish Renewables has said.

The trade body report ‘Why investing in electricity transmission infrastructure is a priority for Scotland’ points out that a net-zero future which delivers cheap, reliable, clean power, jobs and a thriving economy for future generations is going to look different.

The current electricity network was designed for fossil fuels almost a century ago. But as the latest report from Scottish Renewables makes clear it is now holding back the clean power projects needed to modernise the UK’s energy supply.

Investing in Scotland’s electricity network will:

  • Cut consumer bills

Wind farm electricity is half the price of gas power. Building more pylons, power lines and substations means more clean power can be produced from renewables like wind and solar and cut energy bills for everyone in society.

  • Build energy security

Scotland’s home-grown renewable energy can be at the heart of delivering the clean energy needed to end our reliance on imported expensive fossil fuel. To do this, we need an electricity network capable of transmitting more electricity where and when it is needed.

  • Tackle climate change

Scottish Renewables’ research for the briefing shows that every mile of overhead power line built enables enough renewable energy generation to displace more than 10,000 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere – the equivalent of taking 7,600 cars off the road.

Nick Sharpe, Director of Communications and Strategy at Scottish Renewables, said: 

“The UK’s electricity network is not fit for purpose.

“While the deployment of cheap renewable energy generation has increased fourfold over the past ten years, investment in Britain’s transmission grid has flatlined, and has even decreased since 2017.

“Electricity demand is set to increase by 50% in the next decade and double by mid-century so it’s therefore wrong to say that Scottish households don’t need more power lines, pylons and substations, we need them to keep our homes warm and ensure the lights stay on.

“Groups and individuals who object to the construction of power lines, pylons and substations largely do so because they do not like the way they look.

“By the end of this year, there will be just over 70 months left to achieve our targets of 11GW offshore and 12GW onshore wind. To ensure we maximise the enormous socioeconomic benefits this will bring to local communities, we will need a grid fit for the 21st century.”

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