ScottishPower has switched to 100 per cent green energy following the sale of its last gas and hydro plants.
The Glasgow firm said it had sold its remaining conventional power generation assets to Drax for £702 million and will now produce all of its energy from wind farms.
In the past decade ScottishPower has closed all of its coal plants and currently has 2,700 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity operating or under construction in the UK, and a pipeline of future projects capable of generating more than 3,000 MW.
The Drax deal involves a pumped storage plant in Argyll and Bute, two hydro schemes in Lanarkshire and south west Scotland and four gas power stations in England, as well as the Daldowie sludge processing plant near Glasgow.
Stephanie Conesa, policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “Bold, forward-looking moves like this are absolutely crucial if the UK and Scotland are to meet their ambitious climate change targets.
“With this shift to 100 per cent green energy ScottishPower is reinforcing the message that green energy is the new normal, and that action to speed up the transition to renewables must be taken now.”
However, opposition politicians warned that the move could see more wind farms spring up in Scotland. However, the firm’s main growth is in offshore wind farms.
In offshore wind alone in the UK, ScottishPower has a pipeline of 2,900 MW beyond the 714 MW under construction at its major East Anglia ONE project. The company said it is closely following the proposals by the Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland, with ambitions to secure additional development areas in the next round of offshore wind leases throughout the UK.” Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Alexander Burnett said: “This may well be an honourable enough objective from ScottishPower. Well-sited wind farms which have the support of those living nearby most certainly have a place in Scotland’s energy generation, and will continue to do so.
“But communities all over Scotland have endured years of the SNP forcing through unpopular and unsightly wind farm developments. People, especially in countryside locations, will be very anxious about this, and are simply unwilling to have more turbines foisted upon them.”
Keith Anderson, chief executive of ScottishPower, said: “This is a pivotal shift for ScottishPower as we realise a long-term ambition. We are leaving carbon generation behind for a renewable future powered by cheaper green energy. We have closed coal, sold gas and built enough wind to power 1.2 million homes.
“Every working day we are investing over £4m to deliver cleaner, smarter power for customers. From today we can focus solely on making energy generation cheaper, cutting carbon quicker, building smart grids and connecting customers to renewable electric future for transportation and heating.”
The sale forms part of ScottishPower parent company, Iberdrola’s, €3 billion global asset rotation plan, which was announced to the market in February 2018 as part of the company’s four year strategic outlook. ScottishPower said it is to invest £5.2bn to 2022, with a focus on renewable energy, enhanced grid networks and smart technology for customers.
The Scottish Government’s energy minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “We welcome Scottish Power’s decision to focus its efforts and investments on renewable energy and smart grids which reflects our commitment to securing a low carbon future across electricity, heat and transport as we seek to avert the negative impact of climate change.”