By Scott Wright Deputy Business Editor
ENERGY policy is shaping up to be key battle ground in the General Election
campaign, which is no surprise, given Labour’s commitment to bringing some
of the UK’s energy assets into state control should it come to power on
December 12.
SSE has wasted no time in making its views on the matter known.
With one month to go until polling day, chief executive Alistair
Phillips-Davies told journalists that not only would a process to take
utility assets into state hands be disruptive and time-consuming, it would
also threaten the UK’s world-class reputation for offshore renewable energy.
He also made clear the company’s satisfaction with the current direction of
travel in policy terms. Its success in the Government’s Contracts for
Difference scheme, he said, had allowed SSE to press ahead with a further
two major offshore renewable projects: Seagreen, off the coast of Fife; and
Doggerbank, which between them will represent investment of around £10
billion.
This has all been achieved against the backdrop of Brexit uncertainty, he
stressed, emphasising that the task of meeting the Government’s net-zero
carbon target should be trusted to the private sector, not state-owned
utilities.
Not that the company is completely free from challenges on the policy
front. In a separate statement yesterday, in which SSE called for political
leaders to put renewables “front and centre of their plans to tackle
climate change”, Mr Phillips-Davies called for a shift in policy to allow
for more onshore wind farms to be developed across the country.
Elsewhere, the company still has some way to go before it realises its
ambition of bringing renewable power generated on Shetland and the Western
Isles to the Scottish mainland via transmission links.
While it hopes to present a fresh “needs case” to Ofgem for Shetland soon,
the prospects of a Western Isles link seem to be more remote.

 

 


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