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Nathan Sanders - Meet the Ambassadors, Whole System Thinking

We caught up with Nathan Sanders, SSE Energy Solutions, Distributed Energy, Managing Director, to understand his views on some of the key topics of Decarbonising Heat, Transport and Energy.

What’s your earliest memory of working with SSE?

I started as an apprentice in 1988, so my earliest memory is actually the test I took to join. I remember it was a pen and paper test and I took it at the Southern Electricity Board site in Egham. I also recall having to shin up poles in Wokingham as part of our induction.

What are the key challenges for businesses when trying to reach net zero and decarbonise their operations?

The complexity of it all. For example, I think it can be easy to understand the concept of decarbonising transport by changing vehicles, but there’s another level to the challenge: the charging of vehicles, where you charge them and when, what are the cost implications compared to the net zero return? There are many steppingstones to reach net zero and not one solution will resolve the problem.

What do you think is the biggest gap in the market in the race to fight climate change?

In my opinion, it’s speed to change. Businesses have knowledge and aspirations of the direction they need to travel, but lack of clear policy and regulation can hinder the speed at which companies get moving. By engaging with us, companies can move at pace, utilising our expertise on their journey to net zero.

What can energy companies do to support the journey to net zero?

There is a danger that if organisations of any size continue to work too independently in silos, holding things in and not sharing, that we won’t deliver net zero. It always impresses me how collaboration unlocks the speed at which we can travel on our journey to net zero. It's clear to me that collaboration will unlock the speed of the journey to net zero. That willingness to share can shape the future.

When should people start looking at effecting change in the way they do business to reach net zero?

The time is now! Commitment is essential. We should be considering the processes, operations, solutions, growth ambitions and how they all tie together to reach net zero.

What new technology is required to support UK decarbonisation targets?

We don’t always need new technology, sometimes the technologies we already have can be used to get to net zero. For example, district heat, which has been around for years – it’s how to apply it and integrate it better that we need to address. We need to improve the technology to truly integrate, collect, visualise, optimise and control and make management decisions using the data that is available to us. Our Whole System Thinking approach is doing just that.

What key markets need to start addressing climate change with the most urgency, and why?

The EV market. It is evolving, and infrastructure is being put in place to decarbonise transport, but we know more needs to be done and we are. Much more is needed to decarbonise heat – we’re on a path and as I’ve said there’s technology to support that.

What are the main barriers to your clients in decarbonising their businesses?

Understanding the solutions. These solutions are still being developed constantly but, applied correctly, can significantly future proof businesses and improve outcomes for clients.

Can you explain our Whole System Thinking approach and how it helps our clients?

If you try to decarbonise one element of your business, you won't affectively solve your needs to fully decarbonise. Whole System Thinking is the sum of all the individual parts of a journey to net zero for organisations and our clients. Our Whole System approach means we support in investment, builds and controlling of localised flexible energy assets.

Find out more about how our Distributed Energy, Whole System Thinking can help you on your journey to net zero

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