The key utility in Scotland is now the first UK based energy firm to completely drop fossil fuels from its generation mix.
Scottish Power has become the first major UK energy firm to completely drop fossil fuels from its generation and distribution mix, in favour of wind power, after selling off its remaining gas and hydro stations to Drax for £702 million.
The Scottish energy utility company which is fully owned by Spanish energy giant Iberdrola announced that while customers will still get some electricity from non-green sources that the company has purchased from other operators, the firm is now free to invest more in renewable energy sources like sun, wind, rain, tides and waves in the UK.
Ignacio Galán, Chairman and Chief Executive of Iberdrola, said, “Energy companies must be part of the solution to climate change. Iberdrola is acting now to cut carbon emissions 30% by 2020 and be carbon neutral by 2050. The sale of these generation assets is consistent with our strategy.”
Over the last decade, Scottish Power has closed all of its coal plants, and with the sale of the remaining gas and hydro stations, the company now generates 100% of its electricity from wind power. Currently ScottishPower 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 shift to renewables, especially wind power has come about thanks to a hospitable coastline for generating both offshore and onshore wind energy, and some solid improvements in the efficiencies of wind turbines in recent years. In fact, Wind Energy generation has comfortably beaten solar when it comes to efficiency enhancements in the past decade, moving from a PLF of 25-30% to a claim of as high as 50% generation in cases. Solar on the other hand has inched up, from an efficiency level of 14-15% to best case claims of 25% or less.
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.”
ScottishPower is investing £5.2 billion to 2022, with a focus on, renewable energy, enhanced grid networks and smart technology for customers.
“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,” Anderson added.