Weekly News Review - 26th May 2023

SSE announces plans to invest up to £40bn in low-carbon energy infrastructure

Energy company SSE has announced plans to invest up to £40bn in clean energy over the next decade. The record-breaking investment programme will see the company expand its deployment of renewable energy and storage facilities as well as improving network infrastructure. SSE says that this will create more than 1,000 new green jobs every year.

The plan came as SSE reported an adjusted pre-tax profit of £2.18bn for 2022/23, nearly double the £1.16bn profit made the previous year. The company has benefitted from the rise in energy prices following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As the government’s energy generator levy only focused on renewable power, SSE’s gas-fired power stations saw their earnings increase to £1.24bn, nearly four times the £331m earned the year before.

The company has also continued to increase its offshore wind capacity with the development of Dogger Bank off the Yorkshire coast and Seagreen in Scotland. The 3.6GW Dogger Bank wind farm is expected to be the largest in the world once fully operational in 2026. The 1.1GW Seagreen wind farm began generating power last August and will be Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm once completed.

SSE Chief Executive, Alistair Phillips Davies, said: “The results that we have reported today represent profit with a purpose. They enable us to deliver record investment – far in excess of our earnings – in vital low-carbon energy infrastructure. They are also testament to the strength of our balanced business mix and net zero-aligned strategy, which sees us investing in the solutions to the energy crisis.”

“This is a massive commitment to the UK and, at around £10m every single day, amounts to one of the largest clean energy investment programmes this country has ever seen – helping create and support thousands of new jobs and powering green growth from Shetland to the Isle of Wight.”

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “Investment in Britain’s electricity infrastructure system is key to securing our energy supply as we transition to cheap, clean, home-grown renewables. Today’s commitment from SSE is a further vote of confidence in the British economy.”

East coast subsea electricity cable gets go-ahead

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has received approval for the Eastern Green Link 2 project which will include a 2GW subsea transmission cable connecting Peterhead in Scotland to Drax in Yorkshire, England. Once completed, the cable will allow low carbon electricity generated from Scottish windfarms to be transported for use in England.

The Eastern Green Link 2 project, delivered in partnership with National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET), has secured a license from Marine Scotland. The license applies to the 150km section of cable that lies within Scottish waters and grants permission for infrastructure installation within a designated 500m wide corridor of the seabed.

The project is set to commence licensed activities in 2025, with an energization target of 2029. Once fully operational, it will help alleviate existing constraints on the electricity network, supporting the growth of new renewable electricity generation and progression of further links, creating jobs, and delivering a pathway to net zero emissions targets, SSEN Transmission said.

Project Director, Ricky Saez, said: “We believe our marine licence submission achieved the best possible balance between environmental considerations and the need for the project, and our plans ensure that we’re doing everything we can to limit our impact on the surrounding sensitivities in the subsea environment.”

“We’re now looking forward to working with the supply chain to conclude our tender event, and secure equipment capacity, before progressing our project assessment to determination with Ofgem later this year.”

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