Iberdrola to invest ?4.8 billion in the UK

Ignacio Galán and Scottish First Minister visit the Iberdrola Tower, in Bilbao. Two-thirds of the planned investments are earmarked for wind power, smart grid and distribution networks.

Purchases associated with this investment are estimated at €5.4 billion, opening up trade opportunities for Spanish and Scottish suppliers.

Galán states that Iberdrola will continue to act “a driving force behind development in Scotland and the Basque Country”, where it has major plans for the future.

During a meeting with the Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, in Bilbao today, Iberdrola’s Chairman, Ignacio Galán announced that the company plans to invest €4.8 billion in the UK over the period 2010-2012.

Ignacio Galán and Alex Salmond first visited the site of the Iberdrola Tower, the company’s future headquarters, where the company’s Chairman highlighted his intention to “reinforce his strong commitment to Scotland". Indeed, he revealed that two-thirds of the investment earmarked for the UK will be for Scotland, primarily to develop wind energy plants, smart grids and carbon capture in the event that ScottishPower wins the government competition.

He also indicated that this “significant volume of investment” will involve purchases of €5.4 billion during the period, which represents a golden opportunity for Basque suppliers – highly specialised in the electricity sector – and their Scottish counterparts.

“In this way,” Galán explained, “Iberdrola will continue to act as a driving force behind development in Scotland and the Basque Country, two regions that are very important to our company and where we have significant plans for the future”.

Galán reiterated that the company commenced operations in Scotland four years ago “in order to become an integral part of its economic and social development”. “Today, we can say that this union between Scots and Basques is achieving unbeatable results because we have very similar sentiments and share a strong entrepreneurial spirit that makes our partnership increasingly stronger and fruitful,” he added.

In his opinion, proof of this is that both Iberdrola and ScottishPower “are much stronger now than three years ago. The merger and the investments made – ₤2.7 billion – have enabled the company to establish itself as wind power leader, have involved major projects in the area of operating and environmental efficiency, and have improved service quality for customers in the UK by 10%”.

Flagship projects in Scotland

Through ScottishPower, Iberdrola aims to play a key role in the British energy sector and contribute to the plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions through its investments in wind power, nuclear energy and clean coal.

The start-up of offshore wind farms ranks among the company’s key projects in the future. Iberdrola Renovables and Vattenfall have, for example, been awarded the rights to construct the largest offshore wind farm in the world – 7,200 MW – known as the East of Anglia Array, capable of providing energy to five million homes.

The company also has an additional 2,300 MW in the pipeline in the UK, including the 500-MW West of Duddon Sands wind farm (developed in partnership with Dong), the construction of which will commence in 2012. Iberdrola has therefore established the group’s Offshore Business Division in Scotland to channel the development of the significant volume of facilities it has been awarded around the world, totalling close to 10,000 MW.

On shore, ScottishPower Renewables is now the leading wind power developer and wind turbines generator in the country, with an installed capacity of 816 MW. It also operates the largest wind farm in Europe: Whitelee located south of Glasgow. The aim is to increase the capacity of this installation by 217 MW to 539 MW by 2012.

Iberdrola has also won through to the final round of the British Government’s public tender process to construct a commercial-scale CCS facility at its Longannet plant. The company has confirmed plans to establish a global Centre of Excellence in the UK to develop CCS technology.

Iberdrola also plans to gradually roll out smart electricity distribution grids across the UK, and has announced a project to start installing these networks in Glasgow.

Another of the group’s projects in the UK is its participation in the programme to construct nine new nuclear power plants, for which it has established a joint venture with GDF Suez and Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE). Last year, the consortium acquired a purchase option on the Sellafield site from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The partners are currently preparing a detailed plan to install a new nuclear plant on this site with a capacity of 3,600 MW.

In 2007, Iberdrola successfully settled the amicable merger with ScottishPower in record time. The operation was one of the largest mergers of its kind every undertaken by the Spanish company. Over the last years, investments in the UK have amounted to ₤2.7 billion, three-quarters of which have been made in Scotland.

The company is wind power leader in the country, the third largest electricity distributor, and has a workforce of 9,000 employees. ScottishPower has boosted its installed capacity over the first half of this year to 6,852 MW, thanks to the start-up of new renewable energy installations. Electricity output has reached 14,224 million kWh (+9.2%).