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Delivering a green recovery for seas and skies

28 May 2021


Britain's electricity networks will be investing £300m in helping to support a green economic recovery, innovating to cut emissions by air and by sea. 

SSEN: Orkney Islands

One of the investment programmes supported by the green recovery scheme is a £2.7m upgrade to the network near Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands. Primary substation infrastructure and 16km of overhead power lines will be upgraded, creating 7.3MW of additional network capacity.

Alongside enabling additional capacity to accommodate predicted demand for electric vehicle charging infrastructure and electrification of heat in the area, this strategic investment will support the development of the UK’s first low carbon aviation test centre at Kirkwall Airport.

The project will support the pioneering Sustainable Aviation Test Environment (SATE) initiative, led by Highlands and Islands Airport Limited (HIAL), which aims to create the world’s first zero emission aviation region in the Highlands and Islands.

Green recovery investment will support the upgraded power supply to a new hangar and wider airport infrastructure, including charging of electric aircraft and hydrogen/hydrolysis units.

With Kirkwall Airport as an ideal test location due to the variety of short routes connecting Orkney’s island communities, the SATE project will trial aircraft powered by electricity, hydrogen or Sustainable Aviation Fuels, as well as drones for supplying medical supplies to health centres.

Addressing the challenge to improve UK regional air connectivity and helping to decarbonise the Highlands and Islands region, the innovative project will stimulate job creation and use local renewable energy, supporting Orkney’s net zero ambitions.

Led by HIAL, the SATE project brings together a consortium of aviation industry specialists, local Orkney and Caithness businesses, public sector bodies and academia.

The project is expected to make a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emissions at Kirkwall Airport (c. 2,550 tCO2e) and will support the transition to net zero for one of the most challenging sectors to decarbonise.

Northern Powergrid: Grimsby and Immingham

The Humber is rapidly becoming a major centre of the UK’s green industries, with the Siemens offshore wind turbine factory, Drax’s biomass facilities and major plans to become a hydrogen cluster.

Directly enabling this growth is Northern Powergrid’s investment of 3.5m to create an additional 120MW of capacity for Grimsby and Immingham that will enable a range of projects to come forward quicker, including renewable generation, green shipping and hydrogen production. This additional capacity will also enable regeneration of the area around Immingham Port which was recently awarded Freeport status.

Press contacts for journalists

Peter Kocen

Senior Press and Public Affairs Manager

+44 (0)7792 220 974

ENA Press Office


About Energy Networks Association

Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the electricity wires, gas pipes and energy system in the UK and Ireland.

ENA helps its members meet the challenge of delivering electricity and gas to communities across the UK and Ireland safely, sustainably and reliably.

Its members include every major electricity and gas network operator in the UK and Ireland, independent operators, National Grid ESO which operates the electricity system in Great Britain and National Gas which operates the gas system in Great Britain. Its affiliate membership also includes companies with an interest in energy, including Heathrow Airport and Network Rail.

What are energy network operators?

Energy network operators manage and maintain the wires, pipes and other infrastructure which delivers electricity and gas to your home, business and community. They are private companies which are regulated by Ofgem and employ around 40,000 people in Great Britain.

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