Huge upgrade

ScottishPower to lead investment in green power

Wind power will expand across the country (pic: ScottishPower)

ScottishPower’s Spanish owner will invest £12 billion and create 1,000 jobs by expanding its wind and solar farms and upgrading distribution cables.

Under the four-year plan, which includes £4.3bn for Scotland, Iberdrola will spend more in Britain than in Spain, Germany, France and Australia combined, and will be second only to the United States.

ScottishPower supplies more than two million households, or 4.6 million gas and electricity customer accounts and the investment is seen as key to decarbonising Britain’s electricity network.

At present, Scottish Power operates 3.2GW in wind, solar and battery storage assets, enough to power 2.2 million homes.

Two new offshore wind farms off East Anglia, with a combined capacity of 1,600 megawatt hours, are expected to bid in the upcoming subsidy auction, due to open next week. The budget for the next offshore wind auction has been set at a record £800 million after last year’s round failed to secure any bids from developers to build projects.

The UK’s electricity demand is forecast to increase by 50% by 2035 as consumers replace petrol and diesel cars with electric vehicles and switch gas boilers for electric heat pumps.

This will require hefty spending on transmission and distribution lines. However, operators have expressed concern that upgrading the network is being held back by a lengthy planning process.

A report by the government’s independent adviser last year found that it can take up to 14 years between identifying the need for a new power transmission cable and it coming into service.



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