homenews and insights meet the ambassadors kevin welstead

Meet the Ambassadors - Kevin Welstead

Catherine Thomas
By Catherine Thomas
18 September 2023

Distributed Energy

Meet our SSE Energy Solutions experts

Kevin Welstead

We sat down with Kevin Welstead, Sector Director, EV at SSE Energy Solutions. Kevin shared with us how the EV sector supports how clients are reaching their net zero ambitions.

Could you start by telling us a bit about yourself your role?

I am the EV Sector Director, I lead the EV Commercial business, ensuring on our ambition to build own and operate 300 EV Ultra Rapid Hubs by 2027 and over 500 by 2030. EV rapid charging hubs are one of the leading low carbon solutions for this challenge, and by rolling out this technology at scale we can provide consumers and businesses with the confidence to go electric. I have worked for SSE for 34 years now!

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

One of the key challenges is finding land and power in the location where your customer base would like it alongside amenities to make the user experience more considered. The cost to procure land and then secure it is a lengthy process and this will impact businesses wanting to make the transition. We also need to find ways to ensure net zero is inclusive to all and lobby key stakeholders to secure funding to compliment these areas.

Melksham EV Charging Hub Launch - 16.08.23 - SSE Energy Solutions-16.jpg

Can you provide a brief overview of the EV offering and how it supports businesses on the journey to net zero?

Our EV offering is based around ultra rapid (75kw and above) charging across an average of 10 bays or more. We are looking to build 300 sites and these are being targeted at the 10 large metro cities and 250 towns and cities across the UK with a population of 50k or more. In the key strategic geographies we are looking to build more than one site and in and around London our ambition is 30 plus.

Our sites will be a mixture of just charging alongside third party amenities with a selection of our larger sites delivering our own.

We are looking to stand out in a crowded sector with our fast, resilient, reliable, available charging with a number of sites receiving canopies and ranging from solar, live living roof and we are also using recycled turbine blades as a way of standing out.

We are starting to develop an HGV and Truck proposition that will compliment our E-Bus experience and we are also looking at ways to deliver fast charging (up to 50kw) with strategic clients and large fleets.

Castlebank site visit
SSE Energy Solutions, EV, Castlebank

Can you tell us about a project that incorporated decarbonisation as a focus?

All of our projects feature decarbonisation as an output, this is baked into every site we deliver regardless of design or location. However, our sites in Dundee are pushing the boundaries of innovation with the features they have. Our Kingsway West site has obvious additional benefits with the blade canopy addition whereby, working with a local supplier in ReBlade, we took a discarded wind turbine blade destined for the scrap heap and repurposed it into a canopy that will sit over our charging units. At its sister site at Myrekirk Roundabout, which will be our biggest hub to date, we're incorporate green roof canopies to better drive the net biodiversity gain of the area.

Why is it important for SSE to be focused in Decarbonising Transport?

SSE is a founder member of EV100 and number 5 on the list, so decarbonising our own fleet is a key objective by 2030. SSE is also the largest off shore wind generator and EV is the last piece of the ecosystem jigsaw puzzle. It is a really neat feeling that we can track a customer plugged into one of 300 EV Hubs across the UK and Ireland to a turbine and one of our many 100% certified green generation assets. Transport is one of the largest polluters in the UK and because of that we will be making a substantial investment into bringing it down to net zero.

SSE Distributed Energy is taking a whole systems approach which invests in, builds and controls localised, flexible energy assets which are creating a more resilient energy system for the long-term. We view EV infrastructure as a critical part of this strategy and alongside flexible generation, storage, heat and electrical networks, is integral to our development of local energy systems which harness innovative renewable energy solutions including onsite solar and battery, and energy to waste technology.