SSE says supporting renewables can help obtain Britain closer to energy self-reliance

April 19, 2023: The chief executive of British power company SSE says a rapid build-out of renewable projecting can support the U.K. to secure its energy security and bring costs to decrease for consumers.

“Consumers everywhere all over Europe have seen prices rise significantly,” SSE CEO Alistair Phillips-Davies told from the firm’s Viking Wind Farm in the Shetland Islands regarding Scotland.

“All over the U.K. and Ireland, markets that we operate in, we’ve probably seen prices double over the previous 18 months to two years; we can bring those costs decrease hugely by building renewables, by getting the energy transition right in the sense of getting energy home,” Phillips-Davies said.

“We don’t want to be imported oil and gas from far-flung that we no longer want to agree with and where we no longer trust the regimes. Let’s get back to building our infrastructure, relying on what we’ve got and ensuring not to get it much cheaper but also have more supply security because we’re in control of it.”

Russia’s complete-scale invasion of Ukraine in Feb. 2022 promoted a radical upheaval of Europe’s energy supplies. Moscow was retired as the region’s top supplier of oil and gas imports.

Many European countries have since pledged to end or restrict oil and gas importing from Russia as part of a concerted bid hampering Russian President Vladimir Putin’s capability to finance the war in Ukraine.

U.K. Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps reaffirmed the administration’s plan to provide greater energy independence last month, pledging to seek power in the country by changing to home-grown sources, which include nuclear and renewables.

Asked if the U.K. possessed enough wind energy to power most of the U.K., SSE’s Phillips-Davies replied, “I think the U.K. has a huge amount of natural resources. We’re increasing here in Shetlands currently; the wind is blowing; it is a very windy place near the coast and shores.”

He added, “Although we are here at a big onshore wind farm, which will be the most productive in the U.K., vast resources are also offshore. So, as we build more of that, I think we can drive much closer to that energy self-sufficiency. We have sufficient storage and flexibility for when the wind is unblown and the sun isn’t shining.”

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