ScottishPower in key Europe wind energy contract

SCOTTISHPOWER is this week expected to unveil a multi- million pound partnership in Europe that will help establish its wind power technology on the continent. A deal with a manufacturer to build wind turbines will mark another milestone in the company’s progress in the renewables sector.

It is already in talks with Germany and Poland and is now understood to be making inroads into another key European state. The latest project is described as being worth potentially hundreds of millions of pounds and will help establish Glasgow as a key centre for the development of wind energy technology.

The renewables division is currently a team of around 30 staff headed by Keith Anderson and it is likely to grow as contracts come in. Anderson is thought to be among the four or five contenders to fill the vacant role of ScottishPower chief executive following the departure of Nick Horler. An announcement on a new CEO is expected next month.

Spanish parent group Iberdrola is the biggest wind energy company in the world and is investing heavily in renewables in the UK and US while expanding its footprint across Europe.

In Britain it is working with Vattenfall to build hundreds of wind turbines off East Anglia, the second biggest offshore wind farm project in the country that will generate up to 7.2GW of energy – enough to power five million homes a year. Much of the work is being managed from Glasgow.

The progress being made by ScottishPower will encourage the Scottish Government which wants to generate 100 per cent of the country’s power from renewable sources by 2020.

While the target has divided opinion among business leaders, the election of a majority SNP administration is expected to give companies in the sector the confidence to invest.

Ignacio Galan, chairman and chief executive of Iberdrola, has described the renewables goal as "entirely credible".

Plans by companies to scale up their operations is also likely to add weight to the campaign to establish the Westminster government’s Green Investment Bank in Scotland.

Meanwhile, ScottishPower’s coal-fired power station at Longannet is among the contenders hoping for a share of £4 billion of funding from the European Investment Bank to develop a carbon capture programme.

The EIB will spend nine months selecting up to three projects that will receive financial backing.