SSE to treble renewables output to lead net zero charge

Leading low-carbon energy company SSE has unveiled plans to treble its renewable output by 2030, and set out its aspiration to add 1GW a year of new renewables capacity by the second half of the decade. The update comes as the Prime Minister sets out his 10-point plan to build back greener and attract private sector investment in decarbonisation.

The FTSE-listed business, which was confirmed on Monday as a Principal Partner to the UK Government on the COP26 UN climate conference, has already pledged to spend £7.5bn – £4m every day – to 2025, making it one of the biggest investors in low-carbon infrastructure in the UK and Ireland.

And a comprehensive update on its renewables development pipeline, published today as part of its 2020/21 interim results, shows that SSE is currently leading development of more offshore wind than any company in the world.

SSE confirmed it expects to reach financial close in the coming days on Dogger Bank, which at 3.6GW (SSE share 50%) will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, capable of powering 4.5m homes once completed in 2026. Just one rotation of a Dogger Bank turbine will be enough to power a UK household for two days.

This is alongside strong progress on its other flagship projects, Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm at Seagreen (SSE share 49%) and one of Europe’s highest producing onshore wind farms at Viking, in Shetland, including the transmission link that will connect it to the mainland. These projects alone have created 1,000 new skilled, green jobs.

SSE’s commitment follows the Prime Minister’s announcement of a new target to deliver 40GW of offshore wind by 2030, enough to ensure every home in the country will be powered by renewables by 2030.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, SSE Chief Executive, said:
“Today is an important day, not just for us as we publish our results and our low-carbon investment plans, but for anyone who supports the effort to tackle climate change as the Prime Minister sets out his welcome 10-point plan to build back greener.

“As we seek a recovery from the effects of coronavirus, investments in low-carbon infrastructure that help stimulate the economy, boost jobs and level up regions while tackling climate change are a win-win.

“We’ve led from the front on the green recovery, creating over 1,000 jobs through our low-carbon projects and with more to come as we support efforts to build back greener. And with clear policy signals from government and the regulator, we can do more.

“We have a portfolio of options that are second to none and a strong balance sheet that supports our plans to develop, own and operate the infrastructure that is so badly needed to build a better world of energy.”

In its Half-year Results statement, SSE reported on strong operational performance and good strategic progress in the six months to 30 September 2020, notwithstanding the impacts of coronavirus on its business. These impacts are tracking in line with expectations and are anticipated to be towards the middle of the £150m-£250m range outlined in June. Despite this, SSE has not furloughed any employees or drawn down on any government support, and has continued to support the safe and reliable supply of electricity to those who depend upon it.

Adjusted operating profit fell 15% versus the same period a year earlier to £418.3m, while reported operating profit increased 183% to £985.1m, reflecting proceeds from SSE’s disposals programme.

In June this year SSE said it would seek to raise at least £2bn from disposal of non-core assets by Autumn 2021. It has delivered £1.4bn in proceeds already, including the sale of its stake in Walney offshore wind farm, Multifuel Energy and smart meter funding provider MapleCo.

SSE has joined the ‘Race to Zero’ campaign by setting a target for all of its business operations to be net zero across all scopes by 2050, having already set ambitious near-term Science Based Targets to reduce emissions by 60% in just 10 years to 2030.

The transition to net zero will be transformational and SSE today became the first company to publish a Just Transition Strategy, outlining how it will approach the social implications of delivering net zero; from jobs and training, to working with communities and ensuring no one is left behind. The strategy sets out 20 principles SSE will follow to ensure that the impacts from the decisions it takes are fair and maximise the opportunities for communities to benefit from net zero.

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