I will have been working at SSE for 16 years in January, with the last 10 in our Distributed Energy business. It has been amazing journey, and to play a pivotal role through a period significant change and growth in our business during that time, I feel very privileged. As a time served electrical engineer, spending the first 11 years of my career in the FMCG, Semiconductor, and Automotive industries; if you had asked a 25 year old Noel Powell would he see himself in a role like this, I would likely have laughed. However, you could say I found my calling and with a background in engineering, its enabled me to be very successful in my career at SSE, helping clients from both a technical and commercial perspective, while also allowing for personal development in an area of great interest. What's interesting in my role, is that every day is a learning day in the world of energy. The energy landscape has changed immensely over the past years and decade, and will no doubt continue to change. No two days or two projects are the same and I enjoy every minute of every day. I am very lucky to work in a great business, with so many fantastic people, and on so many interesting projects. I am incredibly grateful to have a fantastic team and colleagues in the business with the same mindset of wanting to 'make a difference' in reaching the journey to net zero.
I think this comes in a number of different guises, not limited to; technical, financial, economic, political, and social, but at SSE we are helping face those challenges head on through our £40bn NZAP+ programme. I think it's important to recognise that we all have an important role to play not only in business but also our personal lives. In my sector, for example, whereby we are supporting developers with 'new build' developments across the UK, we are seeing the requirements for grid connected power becoming more demanding. This is particularly prevalent in the Data Centre sector where need for data is increasing on a daily basis - we already live in a data driven world and with advances in AI, this will become greater; in the Logistics sector we are seeing greater demand for power based on automation and electrification of transport; and in the mixed-use sector, the shift toward electrified heat is have a greater demand on power. In many cases, we are faced with constraints on the grid so an optimised balance of grid connected power, renewable green energy, and energy storage is key to ensuring we will achieve net zero.
Our team are working on some of the largest and most significant regeneration projects the UK has seen in a generation, so to choose one would be difficult. We also have, in development, a number of projects that will be a UK first, so these are very exciting times. Our client's sustainability objectives are now core, so when designing an energy system that meets those requirements, our solutions are key. For example, we are currently developing an energy system for a significant 6.7m sq. ft commercial development in the Oxford area. The project will be connected to a resilient grid supply point via primary infrastructure with a demand capacity of 50MVA. However, in supporting the sustainability characteristics of the development, we are looking to incorporate onsite generation - maximising the roof space with solar PV, collocated energy storage, and EV charging infrastructure; all of which will be fully optimised across all buildings on a 'smart network' using digital services to control and optimise deployment and management of the energy.
We understand the challenges that developers face when building essential energy-related services and solutions into their construction projects. SSE's unique Whole System approach enables us to develop an energy system that is fit for the future, while offering new and innovative ways to deliver, manage and invest in energy infrastructure. We are in a unique position to deliver these energy systems, drawing on our expertise to create solutions tailored specifically to the clients and project needs. The energy landscape is becoming more complex and we are playing a major part in the emergence of a user-led energy system - Decarbonising Power, Heat, and Transport.