Scotland's electricity and gas networks: vision to 2030

Based on Scotland's energy strategy, this document looks at the ways in which Scotland's electricity and gas network infrastructure will continue to support the energy transition.

Our Electricity and Gas Network Vision for 2030 - Key Points

The electricity and gas networks place Scotland's consumers, economy and society at the heart of our energy systems, supporting:

  • an inclusive transition to a decarbonised energy system
  • a whole system approach across heat, transport and electricity, and
  • smarter, local energy models.

The networks' transition over the coming decade takes place in a way which considers the impact on all consumers - especially those considered vulnerable - as well as businesses.

Network Infrastructure

Electricity Transmission

  • A secure and resilient transmission network for Scotland, engineered to reflect the changing dynamics of the electricity system, and with a System Operator able to access the technical services needed to maintain stability.
  • New transmission infrastructure that ensures we can meet Scotland's renewable energy ambitions - including new links to meet the needs of Scotland's islands, stronger links within Scotland, and new links to the rest of Great Britain.
  • New and stronger interconnections between Scotland and our European neighbours - supporting a wider market and more secure system.

Electricity Distribution

  • Distribution networks with sufficient capacity to meet the growing demand for distributed generation, and capable of carrying clean electricity to and from new demands including electric vehicles and a growing number of heat pumps.
  • A Distribution System Operator (DSO) transition which engages and provides opportunities to reward all consumers, manages risk effectively and ensures safety, security, efficiency, openness and flexibility.
  • Demand management, new platforms and technologies, including batteries, to help manage peaks in local demand and generation in ways that deliver greater value to local communities and support resilient
  • supplies - particularly in rural areas, including our island groups.
  • Smart meter data and enhanced, real-time network monitoring works with traditional systems to keep the network safe, secure and efficient whilst respecting consumers' data privacy and security.
  • Managed charging and successful innovations to help integrate a growing fleet of electric vehicles into our transport systems, and ensure that investment in new infrastructure can be focused where it is most needed and will deliver greatest added value.

Gas Transmission

  • Continues to transport gas across Scotland and Great Britain from a range of sources, providing vital storage and flexibility to our energy system, and supporting our economy whilst adapting to changes in supply of natural gas from the North Sea.
  • Develops the evidence base to show the feasibility and costs associated with adapting the network to support regional energy systems based on 100% hydrogen and supports strategic decision making over the future of low carbon heat across Scotland and Britain.
  • Identifies and implements opportunities to support the continued and increasing decarbonisation of gas that flows through the network.

Gas Distribution

  • Continues to provide low cost energy to Scotland's households and businesses throughout the 2020s.
  • Blends increasing quantities of low carbon gases with natural gas, including hydrogen, bio methane, bio SNG and hydrogen, while maintaining the safety of the system.
  • Demonstration schemes have delivered 100% hydrogen to consumers through new and existing distribution networks. These have enabled an evidence based decision on the long term role for these networks in a close to zero carbon energy system.
  • Assesses and makes investment decisions based on their carbon, economic and social benefits, including their potential to reduce fuel poverty and comparison with alternative options for low-carbon heat.
  • Links low carbon sources of gas to consumers through local and community energy projects, leading to more efficient use of the network.
  • Uses open, flexible and simple processes to connect many more small, decarbonised gas producers.

Coordinating the Challenge

Regulation and Governance

  • Consumers and their representatives are deeply involved and central to the processes of developing our networks, ensuring that decision-making starts from the impact of change on all consumers - especially those considered vulnerable - as well as businesses.
  • Regulation and governance is more flexible and agile - able to respond quickly to changes and disruption while protecting and advancing consumers' interests.
  • We have a much better understanding of how to balance the interests of today's consumers against those at different points in the future.
  • There is an effective and constructive relationship between the energy regulator and government at all levels, with the regulator able to consider Scottish policies, programmes and priorities when making its decisions.

Whole System Planning

  • The energy system, at a national and local level, is designed strategically, taking economic and social priorities into account and supporting the principles and priorities laid out in the Scottish National Planning Framework and with a view to supporting sustainable energy solutions for Scotland's islands.
  • Electricity and gas networks' plans are coordinated with each other, and with other forms of energy infrastructure such as heat networks.
  • The networks enable major increases in renewable energy capacity and generation, ensuring that we meet our target of 50% of all energy from renewables in 2030.
  • Electricity and gas networks use scenario planning to guide development and investment decisions and to forecast and manage risk effectively.

Network Funding

  • Network funding reflects the changing environment - producing fair decisions and outcomes which reflect the networks' role in delivering an 'essential service'.
  • The principle of 'cost reflectivity' is balanced against the need to protect vulnerable customers, with government and the regulator working closely together to agree and implement appropriate principles.
  • Network funding processes and decisions consider current and future consumer needs and the role of emerging technologies and, where identified, the opportunities to support inclusive growth.

Scotland Leading the Way - Innovation and Skills

  • The culture of innovation in network companies fostered over the past decade continues to expand, with an increasing focus on delivering innovation as an ongoing aspect of daily business.
  • There are greater opportunities for non-network companies to innovate in support of system and network outcomes, helping networks access flexibility from customers and deliver the services that people and businesses genuinely want.
  • Our education system, skills and research institutions continue to provide the sector with skilled engineers and specialists, including experts in cyber-security, data-analytics, and consumer issues.



Back to top