Energy giant highlights attractiveness of wind farm licenses off Scotland
The ENERGY giant SSE is trying to dramatically accelerate the growth of the wind farm market off the coast of Scotland which it says will give the supply chain a much needed boost.
Managing Director Alistair Phillips-Davies said the owner of Scottish Hydroelectric hopes to be one of the big winners in the upcoming ScotWind licensing round, which covers huge swathes of the seabed off the country’s coast.
“We will be bidding in a number of areas,” Phillips-Davies told reporters, adding: “I really hope we will be successful as we are currently probably the most successful offshore wind builder in Scotland.”
Perth-based SSE completed development work on the giant Beatrice wind farm off Caithness in 2019. It is currently working on the Seagreen wind farm off the coast of Angus. It will be Scotland’s largest wind farm when completed.
The company has come under fire after selecting operations based outside Scotland to produce turbines for use in wind farms across the country.
READ MORE: SSE boss defends treatment of Scottish supply chain amid wind farms
However, SSE has insisted that its investment in renewable energy has helped generate a lot of work for businesses in Scotland, with resulting benefits for the job market.
Mr Phillips-Davies defended the company’s record yesterday.
He said: “I see it as a major differentiator for ESS, our ability to try to bring more of the supply chain to the UK; this will certainly be part of our offering on ScotWind, relates to how we are going to support Scotland and support the supply chain in Scotland and the UK at large.
As an example, Mr. Phillips Davies said: “We obviously got the announcement in Teesside earlier this year to have a blade factory built there by GE and we are working on a number of similar opportunities. . ”
The affected plant will create or support around 2,000 jobs. It will produce blades for the Dogger Bank wind farm that SSE is developing off the coast of northeast England.
READ MORE: Scottish energy giant backed to build world’s largest wind farm
Scotland has not benefited from the kind of economic boost that was expected given the potential for renewable energy production in the country.
The Burntisland Fabrications (BiFab) business fell under administration in December after failing to win the kind of work associated with wind farm developments off Scotland that some had hoped for.
After acquiring the BiFab site in Methil in Fife, Infrastata was awarded a contract to provide foundations that will be used on the Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm project in the Outer Forth Estuary. This is being developed by EDF Renewables and ESB. The contract award is expected to result in the creation of approximately 300 jobs in Methil.
In its annual results announcement, SSE said it was giving strong support to the drive to achieve net zero in the UK while helping fuel the economic recovery from the devastating impact of the financial crisis. coronavirus.
Group chairman Sir John Manzoni said: “We are cutting emissions, investing in a green recovery, creating over a thousand new jobs, making a major contribution to GDP and, financially, continuing to reward shareholders through the implementation of our dividend plan. ”
READ MORE: Scotland to play a leading role in tackling historic carbon dioxide emissions
The group plans to invest around £ 2bn this year in developing renewable energy assets and related grids under a program that will involve total spending of £ 7.5bn up to in 2025.
Mr Phillips-Davies said SSE is expected to become a significant force in emerging markets such as carbon capture and storage and hydrogen production and saw opportunities overseas, in countries like the United States, Japan and Europe.
SSE increased its underlying pre-tax profits by 4% per year to £ 1.06 billion in the year ending March 31.
The impact of the coronavirus wiped out around £ 170million in profits, up from the expected £ 200million. The group has seen energy demand from business customers decline and bad debts increase.
SSE plans to sell its 33% stake in SGN’s gas networks business this year. It sold its home energy supply business to Ovo in January last year, in a deal worth £ 500million, to focus on renewable energy production and associated infrastructure.
READ MORE: SSE to relinquish its stake in Scottish gas networks business
The group declared a final dividend of 56.6 pence bringing the total for the year to 81 pence, in line with its plan to increase dividend payments based on inflation in each of the five years through 2023. SSE shares closed 8p lower at 1,542 pence.
A spokesperson for SSE’s Operation Renewables said the group had started construction on three major wind farm projects in Scotland since early 2020, citing the onshore Seagreen and Viking and Gordonbush Extension wind farms, which are located in Shetland and Sutherland respectively.
He said: ‘These low carbon projects are currently fueling a green economic recovery through their support for over 1,000 high-value green jobs in Scotland, including direct, entrepreneurial and chain roles. supply.
“These include 141 skilled construction jobs at Global Energy Group’s Port of Nigg in Tain, 48 of which are new positions created, to support the delivery of the Seagreen Offshore wind farm, as well as a maximum of 400 construction jobs expected. during the delivery of our Viking project. ”