homemeet the ambassadors callum macgregor

Meet the Ambassadors - Callum Macgregor

Catherine Thomas
By Catherine Thomas
04 October 2023

Distributed Energy

Meet our SSE Energy Solutions experts

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We caught up with Callum Macgregor, EV Project Development Manager at SSE Energy Solutions, to understand his views on the key topics of Decarbonising Transport, as well as some of the challenges and opportunities businesses are facing to reach their net zero targets and how EV solutions can support a decarbonisation journey.

What is your role, what do you do for SSE and how long have you worked here?

In my role as Project Development Manager (PDM) for EV projects, I’m responsible for the whole lifecycle of EV Hub projects. From conception right through to delivery, I ensure the successful management of projects through SSE’s agreed gate process. I take an overall lead on project reviews, commercial viability, and buildability of sites, as well as both the social and environmental impact of projects. I have been with SSE for almost two years now, having joined as a Project Development Engineer in November 2021. I then worked my way up to Senior Development Engineer, and I now fulfill my role as Project Development Manager. My favourite part of the job is being involved in all aspects of a project throughout its various key stages.

Melksham EV Charging Hub Launch - 16.08.23 - SSE Energy Solutions-148.jpg

What do you find is a key challenge for businesses trying to reach net zero and decarbonise their operations?

Regulatory and policy environment: The regulatory landscape surrounding EV charging is evolving rapidly and is often interpreted differently across regions. Businesses must navigate and adapt to new regulations, planning permits, restrictions and incentives, and compliance standards. Staying up-to-date with these requirements and advocating for favourable policies can be challenging. This includes having the foresight to improve and update some of these policies, especially around the accessibility of our hubs.

Location and offering: Choosing the right locations for EV charging hubs is critical. Hubs need to be strategically placed to serve high-traffic areas and accommodate the needs of various types of EV users. For EV charging hubs, the user experience is essential for widespread EV adoption. Businesses need to provide convenient, reliable, and fast charging services in order to encourage more people to switch to electric vehicles.

Business integration: Integrating EV charging infrastructure and SSE into existing business operations. The decision to move forward as a large-scale CPO has created a more public-facing business, and as a result, accountability for our developed sites, spanning the term of our lease to often more than 25 years.

Long-Term Viability: Businesses need to ensure that their EV charging hubs and SSE projects are financially viable in the long run. This involves assessing factors such as evolving technology, market demand, energy pricing, and potential changes in regulations. We must also strive to provide third-party revenue opportunities where possible such as small scale retail and third-party advertising.

Can you tell us about a project you have worked on/are working on that incorporated decarbonisation as a focus?

Myrekirk Roundabout – SSE is currently delivering Scotland's most powerful EV hub to date at Myrekirk Roundabout in Dundee. The project was developed in partnership with the landowner JBF Ltd to construct a 24-bay flagship and I’m proud to be part of the project team. In order to try and meet SSE’s biodiversity net-gain targets, innovative solutions such as the inclusion of Sedum roof systems have been sourced for installation on canopies within the site. EV hubs are uniquely challenging with respect to greenfield sites, therefore, innovation is key in order to meet business targets. The canopies being installed include sustainably-sourced materials, and we are working to minimise the use of concrete on-site, with the inclusion of the NAL socket system in replacement if the charger plinths.

Myrekirk site visit, SSE 2023

What are the key considerations with developing a project to ensure it’s delivered as intended?

Developing a project to ensure successful delivery involves several key factors:

  1. Defining clear and achievable objectives is crucial, as it provides a foundation for the project's direction.
  2. Effective planning, including setting a realistic timeline, allocating dedicated resources where required, and identifying potential risks, helps in managing expectations and avoiding disruptions.
  3. Communication and transparency amongst team members and stakeholders fosters alignment and problem-solving throughout the project's lifecycle.
  4. Regular monitoring and assessment of progress against milestones enables timely adjustments.
  5. Flexibility is essential to accommodate changes that may arise due to evolving requirements or unexpected challenges.

How important is it to SSE to develop projects which have sustainability at their core?

Developing projects with sustainability at their core is absolutely crucial and of the highest importance to us at SSE. We are a prominent name within the UK energy market with wider operations in electricity generation, transmission, distribution, and supply. As the energy industry undergoes significant transformation to address climate change and environmental concerns, SSE recognises and is proud of the critical role it plays in the movement towards sustainability. Customers and communities are increasingly demanding environmentally-responsible practices from companies, especially where it involves direct transactions, such as the charging and purchase of electricity to EV vehicles. Developing and demonstrating sustainable projects enhances SSE’s reputation and will create positive relationships with stakeholders who place sustainability at their core.