By Mark Williamson Group Business Correspondent
SCOTTISHPOWER has said it will invest a record £2 billion in clean energy
in the UK this year as it plans to build more windfarms and to install
electric vehicle charging points across Scotland.
The Glasgow-based energy giant said it wants to play a key role in the push
to reduce carbon emissions by helping electrify the economy where it
matters most: in transport and heating.
The company and ‘big six’ rivals came under fire last week for announcing
price rises after Ofgem said it would lift the cap on charges.
ScottishPower’s programme will involve the Spanish-owned group investing in
generating more renewable energy and in the facilities required to help
ensure consumers make the most of its potential.
The company said it will start installing fast chargers across the UK at
strategic commercial locations from winter 2019 in a move it reckons will
unlock the market for electric vehicle ownership.
It is understood this will involve installing kit in places that would
allow drivers to make charging their cars part of their routine, such as
out of town shopping centres.
“Onshore wind remains the lowest cost technology for new electricity
generation in the UK and ScottishPower sees substantial opportunities for
the continued development of onshore wind projects across Scotland and
other areas of the UK,” said the company.
ScottishPower also announced plans to develop a pioneering battery storage
project at the giant Whitelee onshore windfarm on Eaglesham Moor south of
Glasgow, which is the biggest in the UK. This could be used to ensure power
is available to meet variations in demand.
The company said the large-scale battery project will be the first of a
series of storage schemes in the UK, which will be mainly located at
windfarms and at strategic points on the network.
It reckons the combination of renewable energy and flexible storage
provides the most cost-effective low carbon solution for consumers.
ScottishPower’s offshore wind development effort is focused on the waters
off eastern England.
The 2019 investment plan is expected to result in the company creating
around 300 jobs, a significant number of which will be in Scotland.
Chief executive Keith Anderson said the plan was a historic milestone for
ScottishPower and provided a vote of confidence in the UK’s commitment to
decarbonising the economy. ScottishPower invested £1.6bn in clean energy in
“Consumers want and need access to reliable, clean and affordable energy,”
he said. “That is what ScottishPower is focused on delivering and as long
as Government climate change commitments stay firm, with sensible policies
to support them, this investment will continue.”
The company expects to spend £6bn in the UK between 2018 and 2022.
It unveiled the investment plan days after posting a 27 per cent increase
in profits, to £1.54bn, for 2018. Mr Anderson said the year had been
pivotal for the company.
The firm completed the “landmark” journey from coal and gas to 100% green
power by selling its conventional generation business to Drax for £702m in
The unit includes a giant reservoir-based power generator in Argyll, the
Lanark and Galloway hydro-electric facilities on rivers in South West
Scotland and a biomass fuel plant near Glasgow, along with four gas-fired
power stations in England.
Drax said yesterday the assets were highly complementary to its strategy
and would form a very important part of its portfolio. The company expects
the assets to provide high quality earnings.
It aims to support the move to renewables by investing in generating and
storage facilities that will complement wind and solar output.
Drax has adapted the giant coal-fired power station in Yorkshire from which
it takes its name to run partially on wood pellets.
The head of its power generation business, Andy Koss, said the company was
very pleased with the assets acquired from ScottishPower. It could invest
significant amounts in developing them with the right official support.
Mr Koss highlighted the role the Cruachan pumped storage facility in Argyll
played in ensuring supplies are made available to the national grid when
Cruachan generates power based on the movement of water between a reservoir
in the hills and Loch Awe, which lies around 400 metres below.
Mr Koss said Drax is considering development options for Cruachan that
could include hollowing out the mountain to build a new turbine hall or
constructing a new dam.
Drax grew underlying profits by 9% to £250m last year.
Last week ScottishPower said it was raising its prices for customers on
standard variable tariffs (SVTs) by 10 per cent – £117 a year . The
increase will mean its standard plan for duel fuel customers will cost on
Other members of the ‘big six’ have increased prices for customers on SVTs
recently since Ofgem decided to raise the typical limit for UK default and
standard variable gas and electricity tariffs by £117 to £1,254 a year from
ScottishPower’s parent group, Iberdrola, said yesterday it would invest
€34bn (£26bn) by 2022 to speed growth. It reckons the plan will provide a
major boost to the irreversible transition to a low carbon-energy model.