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SSE: Perth energy giant announces £15 billion investment as windfall tax threat looms

SSE's Perth headquarters.
SSE's Perth headquarters.

Perth energy company SSE has announced plans to invest more than £15 billion in Scotland’s electricity infrastructure system.

The firm says it will make the investments this decade to help boost provision of clean energy.

SSE plans to invest in technologies including new offshore wind, critical network upgrades, carbon capture and storage (CCS), batteries and hydroelectric power.

It said assuming a “continued supportive policy environment”, its investment plans will see it investing significantly more than it makes in profits over the next few years.

That will allow the firm to realise its growth opportunities and accelerate the transition to net zero.

The announcement comes as chancellor Rishi Sunak considers introducing a windfall tax for electricity firms.

It could be brought in as early as Thursday to help subsidise energy bills for the worst-off households this winter.

However, SSE chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies does not believe the government will introduce a windfall tax.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I don’t think this Government is going to impose a windfall tax on successful sectors that are delivering for the UK and creating jobs and making sure that we avoid these crises in the future by bringing in lower-cost energy from indigenous sources.”

‘We’re only just getting started’, says SSE boss

The investment in Scotland equates to almost £3,000 per head of population.

SSE set out its investment plans as it published its full-year financial results for 2021/22.

It reported an adjusted operating profit of £1.5bn, up 15% year-on-year.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, chief executive of SSE.

Mr Phillips-Davies said: “We’ve already achieved a lot, but we’re only just getting started.

“Against the backdrop of a global gas crisis, we are investing far more than we are making in profit to deliver clean homegrown energy that will bolster security, cut emissions and make energy more affordable over the long term.

“We have plans to invest more than £15bn in Scotland and in excess of £24bn in Britain alone by 2030 to help deliver Government’s ambitious targets.

“These results demonstrate the strength of our strategy and highly complementary business mix, the passion and commitment of our people, and our ability to deliver for all our stakeholders as we create thousands of jobs and contribute billions to Scottish GDP.”

SSE said it is developing Scotland’s largest and the world’s deepest tethered offshore wind farm, Seagreen, off the coast of Angus.

The first turbine was installed at the Seagreen wind farm late last year.

It is also developing what will be one of Europe’s most productive onshore wind farms, Viking, on Shetland.

Scotland to become ‘global powerhouse’

Earlier this year it was confirmed the business had secured rights to develop a new giant floating offshore wind farm off the coast of Angus.

It is also constructing the electricity cable which will connect Shetland to the UK mainland for the first time, securing the islands’ energy supply and transporting renewable energy to the national electricity grid.

Scotland’s net zero and energy secretary, Michael Matheson, said: “Our abundant natural resources, expertise and proven track record in decarbonisation make Scotland perfectly placed to become a global powerhouse of renewable energy.

“That is clearly evidenced by the significant investment plan from SSE.

Net zero and energy secretary Michael Matheson.

“The coming decade will be truly transformative for our energy sector, delivering further good, green jobs and benefits for communities.

“I welcome SSE’s firm commitment to playing an important role in our just transition to net zero.”

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