The UK can run on renewables in the future, Big 6 boss says. Until recently the UK’s wind power sector – and its offshore turbines in particular – was a bit-part player in the country’s energy mix, known mostly for its controversial subsidies. Not so anymore. The UK government this month signed a deal for offshore wind to produce ⅓ of the country’s power by 2030 — a rare success story in the country’s flailing energy policy. The sector was initially led by new players – such as Denmark’s Ørsted (formerly Dong) – but now the UK’s big electricity companies are getting in on the act. None more so than ScottishPower, the country’s 4th biggest supplier, which last year sold the last of its fossil fuel assets and went fully renewable. Unearthed spoke with their chief executive Keith Anderson. Though the target in the offshore wind sector deal is significant, concerns over the viability of the nuclear power pipeline – since 2 planned power plants have been ditched in recent months – has prompted the question: Is it enough? Anderson isn’t calling for a higher target, but insists “we can do more” and “there is more out there.” He said: “I think having a target of 30GW by 2030 is good by any stretch of the imagination. Now could you push it harder and further to 50GW by 2050 or 40GW etc? Yeah you could but right now 30GW by 2030 is more than enough.” Does that ambition suggest Scottish Power sees the possibility of an all-renewables energy system in the future? “I think anything is possible,” he said, “if you go back 10 or 15 years we used to get people worrying about getting to 10% penetration of onshore wind on the system!” “Could we deal with 100% right now today? I think we would probably struggle. Do I believe in the future that we’ll have the capability of doing it? Yes.” Get tomorrow’s headlines first thing. Last week Scotland’s energy minister said “patience is running thin” with the industry, and called on wind power companies to generate greater return for the local economy. Responding to the criticism, Anderson said: “I think it’s a challenge, not a criticism: how do we get more UK content?” ScottishPower, he said, prides itself on its commitment to get 50% of its content from the UK for the most recent projects it has launched, the government has demanded firms go one step further: 60%.
Unearthed 27th March 2019 read more »