French giant EDF handed £600m deal by ministers
The Scottish Government has come under fire after handing a £600 million electricity deal to France’s state energy company – snubbing two of Scotland’s biggest firms.
ScottishPower and SSE lost out to EDF Energy on the three-year contract to supply almost every school, hospital and council building in the country. It prompted an angry broadside from the Scottish firms, which said they cannot bid for similar contracts in France.
They said such deals should be used to boost jobs “here at home”.
EDF also operates Scotland’s two nuclear plants, Hunterston and Torness, and opposition parties said the announcement was effectively a U-turn on the SNP’s anti-nuclear stance.
A ScottishPower spokesman said: “ScottishPower submitted a very competitive bid and we are very disappointed not to be awarded the contract.”
A spokeswoman for SSE added: “It’s a pity that Scottish companies can’t compete to supply the French government.”
France is a “closed market” for Scottish firms, the spokeswoman added, with the status of the French government-owned EDF (Electricité de France) effectively preventing other firms from being able to compete.
Scottish and Southern Energy and ScottishPower had both jointly held the previous contract.
It is claimed EDF will deliver electricity supplied from 100 per cent renewable sources and the three-year contract is expected to save taxpayers at least £40m.
Electricity will be supplied to 99 per cent of the public sector such as councils, hospitals, schools, fire and police, incorporating 27,000 electricity supply points. Social landlords will also be able to benefit from the contract.
Infrastructure secretary Alex Neil said: “This contract delivers excellent value to taxpayers and also guarantees that all the electricity supplied is generated from renewable sources.”
But Labour finance spokesman Ken Macintosh said: “It is interesting the SNP has chosen a mainly-nuclear provider over a mainly-renewable provider. The key thing is that I hope they have taken jobs and environmental factors fully into account.”
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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