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‘Wet and windy’ good for SSE as business shifts to green production

By August Graham, PA City Reporter

Blustery weather across the UK in the last three months has put the wind in the sails of SSE’s boss Alistair Phillips-Davies, whose company generated more electricity than expected from its wind turbines.

Adjusted operating profit rose 14% to £492 million in the first six months of the financial year due to “generally wet and windy weather”.

SSE swung from a £285 million pre-tax loss in the first six months of 2018 to a £129 million profit this year, and invested £446 million in its regulated electricity networks and renewable energy.

It is a good set of results for chief executive Mr Phillips-Davies, his first since the company decided to sell its power supply arm to challenger brand Ovo.

It leaves SSE primarily as a generator and transmitter of power.

Although the deal is not set to complete until early next year, pending approval from the Competition and Markets Authority, the figures from the retail division have been stripped from this set of results.

Earlier this year, SSE won a contract to supply record-cheap offshore wind power, as it said its turbines could push out electricity at £39.65 per megawatt hour (MWh). At that level the generation will not need any subsidy from the government.

Mr Phillips-Davies said the next government must end a de facto ban on building new onshore wind farms in England, a form of power that is cheaper than offshore.

“The climate emergency needs action now and offshore wind has proven itself to be one of the most cost-effective ways this country can decarbonise and get on the road to net zero.

“Coupled with lifting the moratorium on onshore, the next government could deliver at least another 10GW of clean, green energy before the end of its term – enough to power over seven million homes.”