July 22, 2020 Read More →

Scotland’s SSE looking to join ranks of world’s largest wind power developers

Bloomberg:

Scottish utility SSE Plc is planning an expansion of its renewable power business to compete globally for the growing market for massive wind farms. “I’d like to see us become a global supermajor,” Jim Smith, managing director of SSE Renewables, said by phone. “Who wouldn’t if they were running our business?”

While it’s become one of the biggest developers in the U.K., the largest market for offshore wind farms, SSE has been slow to branch out of its home territory. With construction set to begin on a number of developments, the company is eyeing growth in a space where seasoned competitors like Denmark’s Orsted A/S and Spain’s Iberdrola SA are already duking it out for market share.

SSE plans to expand its wind business into two more markets within the next five years, Smith said. It’s looking at opportunities in northern Europe, the U.S. and Japan, he said. With a record-low bid last year to build a giant wind farm off the coast of England, the company has shown that it knows how to win competitive government auctions to build the green power plants at sea.

For offshore wind, SSE would look to partner with a local developer in whatever market they move into to work on a project at an early stage. For wind farms onshore, the company is looking to acquire a developer with a pipeline of projects at various stages of progress and about 1 to 2 gigawatts of capacity, Smith said.

For now, the company is focused on delivering on a huge pipeline of projects. Last year, SSE and Norwegian energy company Equinor ASA won a joint bid to build the world’s biggest wind farm at sea, the 3.6-gigawatt Dogger Bank. The company also recently made final investment decisions on two other massive wind projects: a 443-megawatt wind farm on the Shetland Islands in Scotland and the 1.1-gigawatt Seagreen installation off the Scottish coast.

All told, SSE plans to invest 7.5 billion pounds ($9.4 billion) by 2025 in projects that will cut greenhouse gas emissions. The utility has said that its balance sheet and divestments can support this growth, and that capital and investment spending on less strategic or less advanced projects will be deprioritized or deferred.

[Will Mathis]

More: Scottish utility seeks to become a green `supermajor’

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