Scottish Power is to become the first major energy company in the UK to fully switch to wind power, after its remaining gas, pumped storage and hydro assets were sold to Drax.
The firm’s chief executive, Keith Anderson said the sale of its 2,566MW generation business marked a ‘pivotal shift’ as it realised a ‘long-term ambition’ of generating all its energy from wind power.
Scottish Power’s parent company Iberdrola sold the portfolio to Drax for £702m cash.
Following the sale, Scottish Power said it now plans to invest £5.2bn to more than double its existing wind power capacity.
It currently has 2,700MW of capacity operating or under construction in the UK, and a pipeline of future projects capable of generating more than 3,000MW.
In particular, the company said it is closely following the proposals by the Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland to increase offshore wind capacity with another round of seabed leases around the country.
‘We are leaving carbon generation behind for a renewable future powered by cheaper green energy,’ added Mr Anderson.
‘We have closed coal, sold gas and built enough wind to power 1.2 million homes.’
The Scottish energy minister, Paul Wheelhouse, welcomed the company’s decision to focus on renewable energy.
‘We also welcome assurances from Drax that, if the acquisition is approved, all existing jobs will be retained in Scotland. We look forward to discussing, at the earliest opportunity with Drax, their plans for the hydro assets they seek to acquire in Scotland,’ added the minister.
The portfolio sold to Drax includes Cruachan pumped storage hydro (440MW), run-of-river hydro locations at Galloway and Lanark (126MW), four combined cycle gas stations: Damhead Creek (805MW), Rye House (715MW), Shoreham (420MW) and Blackburn Mill (60MW), and a biomass-from-waste facility in Daldowie.
The chief executive of Drax, Will Gardiner, added: ‘I am excited by the opportunity to acquire this unique and complementary portfolio of flexible, low-carbon and renewable generation assets.
‘It’s a critical time in the UK power sector. As the system transitions towards renewable technologies, the demand for flexible, secure energy sources is set to grow. We believe there is a compelling logic in our move to add further flexible sources of power to our offering, accelerating our strategic vision to deliver a lower-carbon, lower-cost energy future for the UK.’