energy

Scottish Power shifts to 100% wind generation after £700m Drax sale


Scottish Power has become the first of the UK’s big six energy firms to ditch fossil fuels for electricity generation, by selling off its last remaining gas power stations to Drax for more than £700m.

Iberdrola, Scottish Power’s Spanish parent company, said the move was part of its strategy to tackle climate change and would free it up to invest in renewables and power grids in the UK.

The deal also marks a significant expansion and diversification for Drax, whose main business is a coal- and biomass-fired power station in North Yorkshire.

Included in the £702m sale are four gas power stations in England, two hydro schemes and a pumped storage plant in Scotland.

That leaves Scottish Power producing all its power from windfarms. While it has many onshore, the firm’s growth is in offshore windfarms, including East Anglia One, which should take the crown of the world’s largest when it opens in 2020.

However, the company’s 5 million domestic customers will still be supplied with a mix of green and brown electricity, with some bought from other coal and gas power plant operators.

The ScottishPower chief executive, Keith Anderson, said: “We are leaving carbon generation behind for a renewable future powered by cheaper green energy.”

Drax, for its part, will see an immediate boost in its earnings, adding an estimated £90m-£110m profit in 2019.

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The acquisition positions Drax as a key player to fill in the gaps in the UK energy system at times when solar and wind power output is low.

It also means that if the company fails to secure the subsidies needed for the new gas power station it wants to build at its North Yorkshire site then it will still have a broad portfolio.

The chief executive of Drax Group, Will Gardiner, said: “As the system transitions towards renewable technologies, the demand for flexible, secure energy sources is set to grow. We believe there is a compelling logic in our move.”



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