ENERGY giant SSE has unveiled £4 billion investment proposals that will create more than 850 jobs in its distribution business.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution, which is owned by SSE, aims to boost its investment by around a third in the north of Scotland and central southern England for the next price control period between 2023 and 2028.

The Perth-based Scottish Hydroelectric owner said the extra investment will be delivered without increasing customer energy bills.

It comes as part of the wider SSE group's aims to invest £12.5bn over five years and accelerate its net zero plans. It is claimed the move will see SSE become the biggest constructor of offshore wind in the world and will increase the amount of renewable energy produced by four gigawatts (GW) over the period.

HeraldScotland:

SSE will deliver a quarter of the UK's 40GW offshore wind target by 2030 and more than a fifth of the UK's electricity networks investment.

Under the SSEN business plan, which has been submitted to regulator Ofgem for approval, the division aims to cut its carbon footprint by 35 per cent.

It also plans to facilitate the connection of 1.3 million electric vehicles and 800,000 heat pumps on its network.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, SSE chief executive, said that the firm is enabling “over 20% of the upcoming UK electricity networks investment, the delivery of over 25% of the UK's 40GW offshore wind target and so much more to help the UK and other governments decarbonise”, adding: "With the UK committing to an accelerated net zero timeline ahead of COP26, this is where the rubber hits the road and we see huge growth in our distribution business as it brings net zero to the front door."

Chris Burchell, managing director of SSEN Distribution, said: “As energy policy and targets accelerate at pace, it's critical we invest at the right level now to meet this ambition and avoid a higher cost future." SSE has resisted calls from activist investor Elliott Investment for a break-up, instead focusing on its green spending drive funded by a dividend cut and asset sales.

It is set to sell a 25% stake in SSEN Distribution, as well as SSEN Transmission, likely to be early in 2023-24.

Shares in SSE closed up 31p, or 2%, at 1,583p.