SSE has set out plans to triple its renewable energy generation by 2030 as it prepares to build the world’s largest offshore windfarm off the north-east coast of England.
The energy firm told investors that it was days away from a final investment decision on the 3.2GW Dogger Bank offshore windfarm, which could generate enough clean electricity to power 4.5m homes by 2026.
SSE holds a 50% stake in the North Sea project, alongside Norway’s state oil company Equinor, and a 49% stake in Scotland’s largest offshore windfarm, Seagreen in the Firth of Forth, in partnership with the French oil company Total.
The Dogger Bank project is part of SSE’s plan to invest about GBP7.5bn on clean energy in the UK, which would help triple the company’s existing renewable energy capacity.
The company set out its ambitions alongside the prime minister’s 10-point climate plan, which included the government’s existing target to build enough offshore windfarms to power every home in the UK by 2030.
Alistair Phillips-Davies, SSE’s chief executive, said Boris Johnson’s plan to “build back greener” marked an important day for the UK as it prepares to emerge from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
SSE reported a GBP115m hit to its operating profit in the six months to the end of September as a result of Covid-19, and said its adjusted pre-tax profits fell by 26%, compared with the same months last year, to GBP194m. The full-year impact of the coronavirus on SSE’s profits is expected to be between GBP150m to GBP250m, it said.
“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,” Phillips-Davies said.
“We’ve led from the front on the green recovery, creating more than 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,” he added.
Johnson expects the government’s plans to invest GBP12bn in the green economy will galvanise more than three times as much spending from private investors in green innovations including renewable energy, electric vehicles, hydrogen, carbon capture and nuclear power.
SSE’s plan to invest GBP7.5bn follows a pledge from Scottish Power, which plans to invest GBP10bn in green energy and infrastructure over the next five years. Other major renewable energy developers which are expected to invest in the UK’s green energy plans include Denmark’s Orsted, Equinor and the Swedish utility Vattenfall.