Green grows in many ways for SSE Renewables
Scottish and Southern Electricity (SSE) is splitting off its renewables business in order to expand it beyond the UK’s borders.
But its green focus doesn’t stop there - it’s also demonstrating that environmental strategies can leverage finance.
The new company will cover both SSE’s onshore and offshore wind farms alongside its traditional hydroelectric generation and pumped hydro energy storage interests.
Together, SSE Renewables will have roughly 4GW under its wing when it begins to operate at the start of the coming financial year – 2,000MW of which is wind power. Jim Smith, who has crossed over from MD of SSE’s Generation division to lead the new SSE business commented that there is “a significant pipeline, particularly in offshore [wind], for further development”.
Smith sees a number of opportunities arising from the reorganisation. Although all its assets are currently in the UK and Ireland, the creation of the new business should broaden SSE’s scope, enabling it to offer various energy solutions in different regions and the split also puts it in a better position to form strategic partnerships: according to the company, it’s already assessing some of these potential openings.
Mr Smith also said the new company will be taking advantage of finance from “a diverse range of sources”. Interestingly, SSE has been particularly innovative in establishing environmental finance, with two rounds of Green Bonds issued last year and this year, worth €600m and €650m respectively: part of this year’s bond will also go toward financing the 113km HVDC Caithness-Moray submarine cable link due to open next year. Beside onshore wind, the £1.2bn,1,200MW capacity cable spanning the Moray Firth has been scoped to support Orkney’s future wave and tidal projects.
The Green Bond approach is drawing in European interest as around half of this year’s offering has been taken by French investors who seem particularly interested in this new form of environmental investment.
By Stevie Knight
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