What would Tom Johnston make of SSE, the Hydro-Board’s privatised successor? Having failed to realise a merger and spin-off of its retail energy supply business with Npower, its German-owned rival, SSE recently has raised £635 million by selling 49.9 per cent stakes in two wind farms south of Inverness with combined capacity of 322 megawatts. The cash will be used in a share buyback and net debt reduction. Greencoat, the purchaser, already owns 28.2 per cent of SSE’s biggest onshore wind farm, the 522MW Clyde array in Scotland’s southern uplands. Meanwhile, Scottish Power, the other privatised utility owned since 2007 by Iberdrola, of Spain, has been selling generating assets, too. A package of gas-fired stations south of the border, hydro schemes in southwest Scotland and the striking pumped-storage facility carved out of the heart of Ben Cruachan in Argyll in the early 1960s by the state-owned South of Scotland Electricity Board went to Drax, the North Yorkshire generator, for £702 million cash.
Times 20th Feb 2019 read more »