I’m sure that everyone in this room will agree that it has been an interesting year for the energy industry.
Investment in renewable generation, particularly in Scotland, is under threat, as onshore construction slows down and is in danger of stopping completely.
Transmission companies are gearing up for the next regulatory review with ever more scrutiny on their capital returns.
Retail businesses are facing a price cap and ever more competition. And of course there is Brexit, this time next year we will either be sitting here in a world of transition or apparently we will have fallen off the edge of a cliff!!
But that’s Enough Doom and Gloom
Let’s look at our industry’s ‘to do’ list… the opportunities!
We are the driving force behind decarbonising generation, building smarter grids and enabling the electrification of transport and heat.
And progress is fantastic…
Offshore wind is cheaper than ever– 50% off – yes 50% off – you won’t even find that good a deal in Frasers!
We’ve made great progress with the installation of smart meters – that will enable a digital revolution for the benefit of customers.
Our Network, which stood up to and laughed in the face of the beast from east, is already being designed and invested in to deliver the platform for electric vehicles.
I am determined that ScottishPower and every other company in this room will be powering the future of the UK economy pre and post Brexit, SP alone are investing £5bn in the UK over the next five years.
So my first message to the UK government is – energy can deliver – investment, jobs, manufacturing, skills, innovation, research, efficiency, productivity, power!! In fact we deliver your entire industrial strategy.
So Government – Just let us.
So what else for 2018?
Onshore wind should be at the heart of our industrial strategy and investment programme.
2018 has to be the year we secure the future of onshore wind.
In 2018 we need to build on the hard work of the last 20 years – the skills, jobs, training, investment, right across the supply chain including O&M sector and the construction sector – delivering the lowest cost green Energy for customers.
I can’t quite get my head round the fact that I am here again having to make the case to build more onshore wind…. in 2018.
Let’s consider what the vast majority of people in the UK want:
A whopping 85% of the public said they want renewable energy – April’s UK Government Public Attitude tracker published last week.
72% said they were concerned about energy security. We have endless supplies of wind and no reliance on Russia
71% think the UK is not investing fast enough. We’ve show you can build 500MW of onshore wind in 18 months
Eight in ten people agreed that renewable energy developments should provide direct benefits to the communities in which they are located – our last 8 projects delivered 66% UK content, three quarters of which was spent in Scotland and £1.6bn lifetime investment. And we have now delivered £25m in community benefit.
So onshore can deliver it all – And that is why 76% of the public directly said that they support Onshore Wind
66% said they would be happy to have a large-scale renewable energy development in their local area.
Back in 2014 we were told that people were ‘fed up’ of onshore wind – well it wasn’t true then and its certainly not true In April 2018 – more than three quarters of the public support onshore wind
In recent times politicians have been known to say that ‘they have had enough of listening experts’ – but they have never, ever said that they have had enough of ‘listening to the public’.
The fact you can still get support for a diesel generator or keeping your old and dirty coal plant open.
But bizarrely for a low cost, efficient, job creating, quick to build, green energy onshore wind turbine that the public loves – you get nothing!!! It is completely bonkers!!!!
Today we’re helping Nike power their business from 100% renewable energy in the USA by building three onshore windfarms near their HQ in Portland. Nike knows that onshore wind is the quickest, cheapest and most efficient form of green energy. The British public know that too.
So Come on UK Government… in the words of my friends at NIKE…Onshore Wind – Just do it!