Scottish Power sees coal power drop

Scottish Power reported a 24% drop in its coal-powered electricity generation in the first half of this year. The Spanish-owned energy giant, which is based in Glasgow, is preparing for the likely shut-down of the massive Longannet station in Fife next year.

Renewable energy generation was up 27%, to reach half of the coal-powered figure of more than 4GWh (Gigawatt hours). Gas generation was up 12%, while total production fell 5%. The company reported a small fall in pre-tax profit on its generation and supply of electricity, as it increases investment, and with generation making very low margins. The Spanish-owned utility made 76m euro (£53m) in pre-tax profits on that UK division in the first half of this year, down from 83m euro (£58m) in the same part of 2014. Longannet is one of the biggest coal-fired power stations in Europe.

Revenue was up slightly from 4.055bn euro (£2.825bn) to 4.087bn euro (£2.847bn), and customer numbers rose very slightly since the second half of last year, to 3.3m accounts for electricity and 2.2m for gas.
Neil Clitheroe, head of the company's retail division, recently told BBC radio that is is "likely" there will be a cut in the Scottish Power standard gas price before winter. This follows a recent cut by British Gas/Scottish Gas, averaging £35 per customer per year.

Profit on Scottish Power's renewables division was sharply up from 52m euro (£36m) to 138m euro (£96m), as a new offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea began operations. Renewables revenue was up from 183m euro (£127m) to 325m euro (£226m).

In the networks division, which runs high-voltage grid connections, revenues rose 17% and pre-tax profit was up from 294m euro (£204m) to 342m euro (£238m). The shift in exchange rates between sterling and the euro contributed 14% of the rise in overall profits for the UK division, once they were reported from its Spanish headquarters. The company emphasised the extent of investment going into new equipment, with £1.2bn of expenditure this year, and as much last year.

However, the future of Longannet is in doubt as carbon taxes rise, from £22m in the first half of last year to £60m in January to June this year, and an anticipated bill of £150m. Commenting on the UK results, Ignacio Galán, chairman of Iberdrola, said: "Iberdrola is now beginning a new cycle of growth with investment set to be around 4bn Scottish Power Sees Coal Power Dropeuro (£2.79bn) per year focused on regulated networks and renewables. "Our strong financial position has enabled Scottish Power to invest more than £2m every day in the first six months of 2015 to help keep the lights on, cut carbon and keep energy affordable in the UK."

Among the investments in upgraded grid connections is the line between Beauly in the Highlands and Denny near Stirling. Its partner in that project, SSE, has announced that its northern part of the project is now "energised". Once Scottish Power has finished in the southern portion, it is expected to become part of the grid from November.


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