Creating SSE Renewables

SSE announced in November 2018 that it is bringing together the development, operation and ownership of its renewable energy assets in the UK and Ireland under a single entity to be known as SSE Renewables.

NEWS

Highland communities in £28m funding boost

18 December 2018

Highland communities will benefit to the tune of £28millon thanks to Britain’s newest onshore wind farm, built by SSE Renewables.

SSE has completed the construction and commissioning of the £350m Stronelairg Wind Farm, near Fort Augustus.  Its 66 turbines can generate enough energy to power 160,000 homes.

To celebrate culmination of the project it’s created the Stronelairg Community Development Fund, offering one of the biggest cash injections the Highlands has seen.  It will take SSE’s total community benefit contribution in the area more than £80 million.

The fund will make a significant impact helping develop rural infrastructure, community projects and skills and development opportunities throughout the Great Glen.

Everything from new medical facilities, to sports hubs, to skills and training initiatives, can apply for support, with £1,183,500 being handed out every year for 25 years.

Jim Smith, SSE Renewables Managing Director Designate, said: “Completion of the wind farm early and on budget is testament to the skills of the teams involved and of course we thank the local community for their support. 

“SSE Renewables is intrinsically connected to the Highlands, we’re committed to supporting the communities we’re part of and firmly believe locals should share in the economic benefits renewable energy creates.

“The fund is a significant contribution to the local economy with the ability to change lives and we look forward to seeing this money invested in a wide range of projects and facilities which will deliver a real and sustained benefit for decades to come.

“Our history is in the Highlands and we’ve been contributing to these communities for over 70 years and we look forward to making a real difference for many more years to come.”

Villages across the Great Glen will benefit from the guaranteed cash.  While other funding streams are being cut or lost completely, this fund is easily accessible and comes with application support from SSE.

Money will also be added to SSE Renewables’ Highland Sustainable Development Fund which supports strategic projects to allow the benefits of renewable energy developments to be shared across the region and achieve significant impact.  The fund will invest £50m over 25 years across the Highlands. 

Drew Hendry, MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, joined children from Foyers Primary School to launch the fund on the banks of Loch Ness alongside Prof James Hunter, SSE Sustainable Development Fund panel member and Morven Smith, Head of Community Investment. 

Drew Hendry said:  “This new fund is fantastic news for communities throughout the Great Glen, especially at a time when so many local groups are struggling to find the money needed to progress their projects.

“Access to this fund will enable our communities to develop infrastructure, improve services and invest in projects to benefit the people living and working in the local area. It really is a great opportunity for local people to bring their ideas to improve their community to life.

“This investment from SSE is also a great example of how renewable energy projects are not only delivering to meet our current energy needs and future carbon targets, they are also greatly benefiting our rural economy.”

Stronelairg Wind Farm sits on the Garrogie estate, south east of Fort Augustus and next to SSE’s Glendoe hydro scheme.  It’s sensitively sited well back from Loch Ness so that no turbines are visible from the main tourist routes.  Construction began in April 2017 and it’s now fully operational and exporting clean power to the UK national grid. 

An annual payment of £569,250 will be made available to the local communities across Stratherrick and Foyers, Fort Augustus and Glenmoriston, Laggan, Spean Bridge, Roybridge and Achnacarry, Glengarry with a further £569,250 going to SSE’s regional Highland Sustainable Development Fund to help strategic projects.  The Stronelairg Fund will contribute a total of £28 million to the area over the next 25 years.

SSE Business Energy bolsters green credentials with renewed EcoAct verification

14 December 2018

The independent verification demonstrates that the SSE Green energy tariff is sourced solely from wind and hydro assets, enabling businesses to report zero Scope 2 emissions under the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard market-based methodology. SSE Green is also fully backed by Renewable Electricity Guarantee of Origins (REGOs), which proves that the electricity comes from a renewable source.

This renewed verification of SSE Business Energy’s renewable electricity offering further proves its commitment to helping businesses with their environmental responsibilities, making positive ethical choices and improving their sustainability credentials.

EcoAct’s rigorous assurance process involved evaluating the design of the product against the reporting and quality criteria in the GHG Protocol to verify its environmental claims. This included reviewing and testing the REGO-backed product specifications, as well as evaluating SSE’s REGO balance for the most recent Fuel Mix Disclosure period. SSE’s internal processes for design and operation were also assessed and as part of this, EcoAct tested a sample batch of product-specific transactions and assessed risk management and data processing.

Mark Chadwick, CEO at EcoAct said: “More and more businesses are looking to invest in renewable electricity to report zero emissions. To do this, it’s essential there’s a robust framework in place that gives organisations the confidence that the electricity they are buying is generated by renewable energy sources. Achieving third party verification from us provides this reassurance for SSE Green customers.”

Mark Keeling, SSE Business Energy Sales Director said: “Our conversations with customers of all shapes and sizes show there’s a real appetite for renewable energy. Not only are businesses keen to reduce their carbon footprint, they’re also recognising that being environmentally responsible can set them apart from the competition. And research on the consumer side backs this up, with nine out of ten customers saying they’re more likely to trust companies that support social environmental issues.* The independent verification from a respected third party in EcoAct allows businesses to demonstrate their green credentials, making them more appealing to customers, procurers, suppliers and investors as well as existing, and potential, employees.”

Research conducted by EcoAct found that renewable energy usage has increased by 10% among UK businesses this year, with 75% of FTSE 100 companies sourcing renewables and an increasing number publicly committing to deploy 100% renewable electricity across their operations.**

For more information please visit ssebusinessenergy.co.uk or call 0800 389 4466

 

 

*Cone Communications CSR Report 2017.

**EcoAct, The Sustainability Reporting Performance of the FTSE 100 | 2018

Completion of 228MW Stronelairg Onshore Wind Farm

11 December 2018

SSE has completed the construction and commissioning of the 66 turbine/228MW (megawatt) Stronelairg wind farm, near Fort Augustus. With a total investment of around £350m, Stronelairg is expected to be SSE’s final wind farm to be accredited under the Renewables Obligation.

The completion of Stronelairg takes SSE’s onshore wind farm capacity to 2,143MW, and its total renewable energy capacity (including pumped storage) to 3,955MW.

This capacity total will increase to 4,190MW when the Beatrice offshore wind farm in the Moray Firth is completed in the spring of 2019; but it may be closer to 4,030MW if SSE completes the sale of stakes of up to 50% in Stronelairg and in Dunmaglass* onshore wind farm.

The potential sale of stakes in Stronelairg and Dunmaglass is in line with SSE’s strategy to create value from developing and operating assets, as well as owning them. Should a sale be completed, SSE will continue to be the operator of both wind farms and will retain significant future development rights in relation to them.

The Stronelairg wind farm is situated within a natural bowl on a plateau that is on average 600 metres above sea level. Its load factor, on a P50 basis, is expected to be around 42% in a typical year. This is similar to the load factors of many existing offshore windfarms. It is set well back from Loch Ness, so that no turbines are visible from main tourist routes. In line with SSE’s commitment to sharing value, communities will benefit from a significant community investment fund.

SSE announced on 14 November that it is consolidating the development, operation and ownership of its renewable energy assets in the UK and Ireland under a single entity to be known as SSE Renewables.

SSE’s future onshore wind farm pipeline consists of over 800MW of potential new-build projects.

Martin Pibworth, Wholesale Director, SSE, said: “To have completed Stronelairg ahead of schedule and on budget, despite the additional challenges associated with its altitude and the weather conditions experienced in the winter of 2017/18, is a tribute to the skill and professionalism of the teams that designed, developed and built the wind farm. Its completion confirms SSE’s position as the owner and operator of the most renewable energy capacity across the UK and Ireland.

“Through SSE Renewables, we want to build on our established skills in asset management and large capital project development to achieve future growth and maximise our contribution to the ongoing decarbonisation of the electricity system.”

* Note
Dunmaglass wind farm is situated approximately 15 kilometres from Stronelairg and is on average 700 metres above sea level. It was completed in early 2017 following a total investment (including the cost of acquiring the development in 2013) of around £210m and comprises 33 turbines with a total capacity of 94MW. Its load factor, on a P50 basis, is expected to be 43% in a typical year.

Renewables key to our low carbon vision

4 December 2018

Blog by Chief Executive, Alistair Phillips-Davies

The IPCC’s recent global warming report came with a stark warning - we must accelerate the global response to climate change.

The world’s leading climate scientists spelled out that temperature rises must be kept under 1.5C if we are to try and thwart the damaging effects of climate change.

And it’s clear that working towards a low carbon economy is a necessity, not an ambition.

SSE has been a leading developer and operator of clean energy technology for over a decade now.  Our announcement in November that we will create SSE Renewables - bringing together the development, operation and ownership of all of SSE’s onshore wind, offshore wind and hydro assets in the UK and Ireland – is an important step forward in playing our part in decarbonising the electricity system.

Creating SSE Renewables is also a vote of confidence in the long-term prospects for the green energy sector.

SSE Renewables will start in a strong position, having the largest installed capacity for generating energy from renewable sources of any generator across the UK and Ireland.

But we want to build on that, and this new, single entity will help us to do that in three clear ways.

First, it conveys a keen-ness to invest: Creating SSE Renewables is explicitly designed to enhance our ability to raise finance from diverse sources, building on SSE’s position as the largest issuer of green bonds from the UK corporate sector.  We want to invest more in renewable energy, and the new company will help us do that.

Second, it signals an appetite to compete: the costs of technologies like solar and wind have already fallen rapidly over recent years, approaching the cost of conventional generating technologies.  SSE Renewables will have an unerring focus on efficiency and innovation, ensuring that renewable energy represents value for money for the customers who ultimately pay for it.

Third, it shows a commitment to skills and quality jobs: SSE Renewables will be led by an experienced management team with a strong track record in developing highly-skilled jobs in some of the most rural parts of the UK and Ireland.  It will have the enterprise and entrepreneurial flair to build on this in the future.  It’s always people who make the difference.

Over the last decade, the UK and Ireland have been very positive places to invest in renewable energy, and both countries can be pleased with the progress they have made towards decarbonisation.  To build on this, policymakers should have three main priorities.

They need to take an end-to-end look at the planning system - onshore and marine - to make sure that the cumulative impact of every rule, regulation and guideline is to facilitate responsible renewable energy development, not stall it.  An effective planning system that safeguards all stakeholders’ interests is key – but so is one that can be navigated in a clear, transparent and timely way.

The second is to regard the offshore wind sector as of strategic significance to the economies of the UK and Ireland and to regard recent successes in terms of installed capacity and lower costs as just the start.  Confidence across the sector is good and the potential is enormous.  But it needs to be nurtured with a sustained, long-term, practical commitment to a policy framework - regular CfD auctions in the case of the UK. Last week’s CfD budget announcement was an important milestone for the industry.

The third is to look again at onshore wind.  Inappropriate development of wind farms does nobody any good; but nor does creating barriers to an indigenous source of large amounts of clean, cheap energy.  I have no doubt that customers’, communities’ and companies’ interests can be reconciled in a way that makes future onshore wind farm development feasible.

So SSE Renewables is an important step forward in a sector that’s brimming with potential in countries that have done so much, and can do so much more, to bring renewables into the energy mainstream.

It’s good news for SSE; and it’s good news for the fight against climate change too.

Making a lasting change

27 November 2018

SSE has contributed to industry trade body Energy UK’s series of thought-leader essays celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Climate Change Act.

Martin Pibworth, Wholesale Managing Director, joined energy minister Claire Perry, Lord Debden of the Committee on Climate Change, and eminent scientific advisor Sir David King, alongside other leading power and environmental industry figures to contribute perspectives on the Climate Change Act’s influence in transforming the power sector.  They also look at the challenges that lie ahead both for the UK and the rest of the world.

In ‘Energy and our Environment’, Martin reflects on the huge contribution the power sector has made in helping the UK’s carbon emissions fall to a level last seen in 1890.  SSE advocated hard, alongside the Climate Coalition, in favour of tough legislation in the Climate Change Act to help deliver the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy.

Martin reflects on the stand SSE took at the time, committing to halve the carbon intensity of the electricity it generated in 2006 – one of the first energy firms to do so. Since then, SSE has invested heavily to deliver the vital, cleaner and greener infrastructure the UK energy system needed.

Martin said: “Since the Act around £11bn has been invested in renewable generation and supporting infrastructure to help meet that ambitious carbon target with projects built all over the UK, from the Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm off the coast of Suffolk to the Slieve Kirk wind park in Northern Ireland. These investments – and many others – enabled SSE to reach its own ambitious carbon emission target two years early.

“Now, having played our part in helping the UK meet its first two carbon budgets, we are determined to up the ante and go further, setting out a new ambition for a further 50% reduction in carbon intensity from today’s levels to around 150g/kWh by 2030.

“The UK took bold steps 10 years ago to deliver the Climate Change Act. Bold and decisive action will be needed again if we are to truly create a low carbon world.”

As part of that bold action yesterday, Alistair Phillips-Davies, SSE Chief Executive, also joined leading energy organisations to call for a commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 in a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May Alistair said:  “Warm words aren’t enough. It’s deeds that matter. Our decision to refocus SSE on energy networks and renewable energy is based on the fact that it’s these businesses that will help enable the transition to a decarbonised electricity system and so help combat climate change.

“Through investment and innovation in networks and renewable energy we can be proud of the contribution to decarbonisation that SSE has made so far. Today’s letter and study show much more work lies ahead, and we’re setting SSE up to show leadership in commitment to decarbonisation and action in helping to deliver it.”

The Energy and our Environment report was officially launched last night at an event at Parliament with Claire Perry, Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, Lord Deben, Chair of the CCC, and Lawrence Slade Energy UK’s Chief Executive among the guests.

 

SSE Calls for Zero Carbon Future

26 November 2018

SSE has joined a group of other large companies in calling for advanced economies like the UK to aim for ‘net zero’ emissions by 2050 at the latest.

The call is made in a letter to UK Prime Minister Theresa May that also marks the 10th anniversary of the UK’s Climate Change Act.

It comes on the day that SSE Chief Executive Alistair Phillips-Davies is in Brussels to help launch a new study by industry body Eurelectric that shows how the European power sector can become fully carbon neutral by 2045 through investment in renewable energy and electricity networks.

Commenting on the letter and the study, Alistair said:
“The most recent report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlighted again the very real and serious risks that climate change represents. That’s why SSE has no doubt about endorsing big targets and bold ambitions.

“Warm words aren’t enough. It’s deeds that matter. Our decision to refocus SSE on energy networks and renewable energy is based on the fact that it’s these businesses that will help enable the transition to a decarbonised electricity system and so help combat climate change.

“Through investment and innovation in networks and renewable energy we can be proud of the contribution to decarbonisation that SSE has made so far. Today’s letter and study show much more work lies ahead, and we’re setting SSE up to show leadership in commitment to decarbonisation and action in helping to deliver it.”

Note
‘Net zero’ emissions means cutting the amount of emissions released into the atmosphere by human activity until the amount released is no greater than the amount removed through, for example, reforestation programmes and development of new technology.

Statement on BEIS’ draft Contracts for Difference budget notice

21 November 2018

"SSE welcomes the CfD budget announcement, which is an important milestone in the Government’s ongoing commitment to a sustained, long-term policy framework to support offshore wind.

"Competitive auctions have been effective in driving down the price of offshore wind, and rightly so, but the strike prices set out are approaching “subsidy free” levels which is ambitious. To deliver projects at the this level whilst also meeting higher local content targets will require close collaboration between offshore developers, supply chain partners and financiers.  

"A cap on capacity is disappointing when there’s more than 6GW of low carbon projects ready to play a part in delivering the clean energy infrastructure we need to decarbonise the power sector.  We’d urge BEIS to publish the Allocation Framework as soon as possible to give developers sight of how the overall budget will be awarded to help inform the bid process."

SSE announced in November 2018 that it is bringing together the development, operation and ownership of its renewable energy assets in the UK and Ireland under a single entity to be known as SSE Renewables.

Fifteen years in offshore wind

19 November 2018

Blog by Paul Cooley, Director of Generation Development

Back in 2003 we first dipped our toes into the offshore wind industry with the co-development of the relatively small Arklow Bank Phase 1 project in Ireland. Fast forward fifteen years and SSE currently has the largest consented offshore wind pipeline, some 3.3GW, of any UK company.

During that time SSE has proven its ability to deliver industry leading offshore wind projects including the development, construction and operation of the 504MW Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind farm (SSE 50%) and, come spring 2019, the SSE-led 588MW Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm (SSE 40%) currently under construction in the Moray Firth.

Our projects have helped to bring long-term jobs and economic development to diverse parts of the UK. At Greater Gabbard around 95% of the employees at the operations and maintenance base in Lowestoft are from the local area and supply chain and economic spend sits around 50% in the region.

For Beatrice, 45% of the project’s £2.6bn capex investment is expected to be within the UK. Contracts were placed with companies and businesses across the supply chain including CS Wind’s Machrahanish factory for turbine towers, Global Energy Group’s Nigg Energy Park for turbine assembly, JDR Cables based in Hartlepool for 180km of array cables to connect the turbines, Siemen’s Gamesa in Hull for turbine manufacturing and Wick-based GMR Henderson for the restoration and development of the operations and maintenance base.

Looking forward, Seagreen Phase 1 (up to 1.5GW, SSE 100%) and Dogger Bank (up to 3.6GW, SSE 50%) are preparing for the next Contracts for Difference auction expected in May 2019. Arklow Bank Wind Park (minimum 520MW, SSE 100%) is one of the leading projects in the emerging offshore wind industry in Ireland. SSE’s offshore wind legacy, and the benefits it can bring, looks set to continue into the future.

As well as leading the Generation Development team at SSE I also sit on the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC), which is fully committed to working with Government and other stakeholders to secure a sector deal for the industry aiming to deliver at least a third of the UK’s electricity needs from offshore wind by 2030.

This ambitious sector deal would bring employment, enhance the UK’s offshore wind products and services and increase the amount of content of UK offshore wind farms provided by UK companies.

As one of the key technologies needed to help the UK transition to a low carbon economy, SSE’s 3.3GW pipeline of consented offshore wind projects shows our commitment to playing a key role in this transition.

SSE announced in November 2018 that it is bringing together the development, operation and ownership of its renewable energy assets in the UK and Ireland under a single entity to be known as SSE Renewables. For more information on SSE’s offshore wind interests read our ’15 years in offshore wind brochure’ here.

A new SSE Renewables business

14 November 2018

Jim Smith, managing director for the newly announced SSE Renewables business, sets out why SSE’s consolidated all of its renewables interests into one single entity.

Creation of SSE Renewables

14 November 2018

SSE plc plans to consolidate the development, operation and ownership of its renewable energy assets in the UK and Ireland under a single entity to be known as SSE Renewables.

The creation of SSE Renewables is a step towards SSE’s vision of being a leading energy company in a low carbon world and is in line with SSE’s commitment, set out in its Business Update in May 2018, to take forward a new business model that gives:

  • greater focus on core businesses including renewables;
  • investors greater visibility of assets and earnings;
  • each of its businesses the best platform for future success.


Assets

SSE Renewables will comprise SSE’s existing operational assets, and assets under development and construction in the UK and Ireland in:

  • onshore wind;
  • offshore wind;
  • flexible hydro electricity;
  • run-of-river hydro electricity; and
  • pumped storage


The group’s operational assets are currently expected to total over 4GW at 31 March 2019, with actual capacity subject to the potential sale of stakes of up to 50% in the Stronelairg and Dunmaglass onshore wind farms.

Markets

The assets of SSE Renewables are all in the UK and Ireland, and the business’ focus will remain on those markets.  In line with its Business Update in May, SSE is also seeking to extend its core competences in renewables energy to geographical areas beyond the UK and Ireland. The creation of SSE Renewables is expected to result in the creation of more opportunities in different markets, and SSE has begun the process of early assessment of potential opportunities.

Management

SSE Renewables will have its own and dedicated and experienced management team. Jim Smith currently SSE’s Managing Director, Generation, has been appointed Managing Director Designate for SSE Renewables. Reporting to Wholesale Director Martin Pibworth, he will lead the work being  done to prepare for the formation of the new entity, which is expected to be largely complete by the end of the current financial year. Management of and reporting in relation to the new entity is likely to begin in advance of its formal incorporation.

Opportunities

The creation of SSE Renewables will lead to five key opportunities:

  • An experienced management team, supported by skilled employees, focused entirely on creating value from developing, operating and owning renewable energy assets, including fulfilling the potential of offshore wind and delivering renewed impetus in onshore wind;
  • Enhanced ability to raise finance from diverse sources, building on SSE’s position in project financing renewables projects and as the largest issuer of green bonds from the UK corporate sector;
  • Greater scope to secure growth through entering  into strategic and financial partnerships and joint ventures with companies with a shared commitment to decarbonisation of the electricity system, taking forward SSE’s established capability in partnering with other organisations;
  • More potential to add to future growth opportunities by extending its core competencies in renewable energy to other technologies and geographies, where the right risk/reward balance can be achieved; and
  • Greater visibility for investors, with comprehensive financial and operational disclosures through renewables group-specific reporting.


SSE group

As a core business in the SSE group, SSE Renewables will be complemented by SSE’s interests in flexible thermal generation assets. These assets are of significant value to an electricity system which features an increasing amount of energy from renewable, but variable, sources.  They are therefore crucial to enabling the transition to a low carbon electricity system.
 
SSE Renewables’ exposure to variations in the value of energy commodities will be managed by SSE’s Energy Portfolio Management division, and in line with the document setting out SSE’s hedging approach, published today (14 November). It will also benefit from other services shared across the SSE group.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, Chief Executive of SSE plc, said:

“The creation of SSE Renewables is the latest step in our strategic goal to give greater focus to renewable energy, give investors greater visibility of assets and earnings in the future and give each of the businesses in SSE the best platform for success.

“Success will mean maximising SSE’s contribution to the ongoing decarbonisation of the electricity system and creating value for shareholders and society in a sustainable way, with a clear focus on maximising future growth opportunities.

“SSE has a unique portfolio of renewable energy assets and a valuable pipeline of future opportunities.  The creation of SSE Renewables will build on SSE’s established skills in asset management and large capital project development and put the business in a strong position to evolve and succeed in a rapidly-changing electricity sector."