Perth-based energy firm SSE Renewables has given the green light to a £580m onshore wind farm in Shetland today.
The announcement on Viking Onshore Wind Farm on Shetland follows financial close of the Seagreen offshore wind farm earlier this month.
Seagreen, off 27km the coast of Angus, is a £3 billion joint venture with Total and will be the largest in Scotland when built.
Together the projects will create around 800 new jobs, with a major boost to Montrose where Seagreen’s maintenance and operations base will be located.
SSE said it will invest more than £7 billion – £4m every single day for the next five years – in major low-carbon construction projects to support net zero and spur a green economic recovery.
SSE chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said: “It’s easy to talk about a green recovery, but we’re putting our money where our mouth is with £7bn of low-carbon infrastructure projects that can deliver a win-win for climate and economy.
“The investment plans we’ve set out today underline our intentions as a British business providing a boost to the economy and we want to work with Government to make the green recovery and delivery of net zero a reality.
“The world is facing twin crises with the economic impact of coronavirus and the climate emergency and the only route forward is to unlock investment.
“Plenty of businesses talk a good game on climate action, but we’re serious.
“That’s why we will hold ourselves to account with new science-based emissions reduction targets, independently verified and underpinned by evidence.”
The announcement came as SSE reported a drop in pre-tax profits to £587m for the year ending March 31 2020, down from £1.3 billion during the same period in 2019.
SSE sold its domestic energy business to OVO Energy in January. OVO has subsequently started a redundancy process with the aim of cutting 2,600 jobs, including hundreds of contact centre jobs in Perth.
Richard Gillingwater, chairman of SSE, said:”2019/20 was a year of progress for SSE. Financially, there was a solid recovery from the previous year.
“Strategically, we reshaped the group with the sale of Energy Services and increased our focus on our core businesses of regulated electricity networks and renewable energy.
“Operationally, these businesses made significant progress towards our strategic priorities and ambition to be a leading energy company in a net zero world.
“Since March, SSE’s overriding priority has been to support the safe and reliable supply of the electricity upon which the people and organisations responding directly to coronavirus depend and the commitment of people across SSE in challenging circumstances has been outstanding.
“It is still too soon to predict with accuracy the full human, social, economic and business impact of coronavirus; but we have put in place a comprehensive plan to achieve the related objectives of sustaining the dividend payments which provides vital income for people’s pensions and savings – income which is now more important than ever; and promoting the long-term success of SSE for the benefit of all its stakeholders.”
SSE said it expects to see a coronavirus impact on operating profit of between £150m and £250m before mitigation.
The firm plans a reduced cash outflow of mainly capital expenditure, of at least £250m in 2020 and 2021.
However, it does plan to undertake a £2.4bn upgrade of electricity transmission lines.
In England, it is continuing to move ahead with plans to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Dogger Bank, off the coast of Yorkshire which will create over 1,000 construction jobs at the peak.
Under the new series of carbon targets SSE aims to reduce its direct emissions by 60% per gCO2e/kWh by 2030 from 2018 levels, stretching its previous 50% target
It has also committed to working with its supply chain so that 50% of its suppliers, by spend, will have a science-based target by 2024; and will reduce absolute emissions from use of products sold by 50% by 2034 from 2018 levels.