Company still expects “additional challenges” in the next financial year

SSE is set to spend around £340 million on developing more renewable energy in the next year, according to the company’s latest financial statement.

The energy company is planning to spend 20 per cent of its £1.7 billion capital and investment budget on developing renewable sources in the next 12 months, including the 235MW Beatrice offshore windfarm in the Outer Moray Firth and the 225MW Stronelairg onshore windfarm, which is close to Inverness.

The company also said returns from recent and future investment in windfarms will be reflected in dividends towards the end of this decade.

It added wholesale operating profit is expected to be higher this year than it was in the previous 12 months, despite lower renewable energy output in 2016/17.

The company’s finance director, Gregor Alexander, said the “disappointing” output had been caused by “drier and less windy conditions”.

“We can expect additional challenges in the new financial year, but we are committed to delivering annual dividend growth that at least keeps pace with inflation, and to working towards ensuring that dividend cover remains within the expected range, albert towards the bottom of it,” said Alexander.

“SSE is a resilient business and we will continue to focus on securing maximum value from our portfolio of wholesale assets, achieving further efficiencies and customer service improvements in our networks business, responding positively to competition in our retail markets and creating long-term value through investment of around £1.7 billion. In 2017/18.”

Since April 2007 SSE has invested more than £4bn in renewable sources of energy and by the end of September last year, had 1,150MW in conventional hydro and 900MW in onshore wind.

The company’s final results for the 2016/17 financial year will be published in May.

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