UK-based Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) announced last week they will carry out an environmental impact study into the possibility of investing £200 million…Perth, United Kingdom – October 8, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] UK-based Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) announced last week they will carry out an environmental impact study into the possibility of investing £200 million (US$313 Million) to rebuild a main electricity artery between Beauly and the Central Belt. An upgrade would raise the capacity of the line from 132 kv to 275 kv and enable Scotland’s Renewable Energy potential in the north of Scotland to be released to the population centers to the south. The investment study has become necessary as applications are flooding in to SSE from Renewable Energy projects to meet the government’s renewable targets. The government has introduced requirements (called Renewables Obligations) in Scotland, England and Wales requiring electricity suppliers to source 10 percent of electricity supplied to customers by 2010 to help meet their Kyoto targets for emissions. SSE’s power systems business has already been approached about nearly 60 projects covering 1400 MW but the present free capacity on northern Scotland’s transmission network is limited to around 500 MW. The proposal would be Phase 1 of an estimated requirement for £1.6 billion (US$2.5 billion) investment in the network in the UK if the 6,000 MW renewables potential in Scotland were to be available. “Our announcement is the first step in a process that could rebuild the network from the north of Scotland to open up Scotland’s renewables potential,” said SSE’s CEO, Colin Hood. “The network in the north of Scotland was largely designed to meet the needs of its rural population which represents only 2 percent of that of the UK. We are already aware, from the approaches we have had, that the limitations in the network could seriously affect the targets set by the government for 10 percent of the UK’s electricity from renewable sources by 2010. Scotland has the best wind resource in Europe in the north and west and companies have been identifying sites to develop throughout these areas. However the electricity network has a limited capacity which needs to be rebuilt to meet this demand and to help satisfy the requirements of the Renewables Obligations.” The government is expecting to create a £2 billion (US$3 billion) a year market for Renewable Energy by 2010 through the Renewables Obligation, the government’s main plank in its Renewable Energy policy. The UK’s target is 10 percent renewables electricity by 2010. In addition to this the government has set aside almost £300 million (US$469 million) of direct financial support for green energy.