Spanish energy giant Iberdrola has unveiled plans to invest €18 billion over the next three years, including €9 billion in renewables mainly in the US, UK and Spain.
The company recorded net profits of €2.8 billion in 2009 and now plans to consolidate on its international expansion with projects in its key markets.
Renewables is the largest single area of investment at €9 billion, with €6.3 billion earmarked for networks and €2.7 billion for generation and supply.
The company currently boasts a total generating capacity of 43,327 MW, comprising 30.2% combined cycles, 24.6% renewables, 22.5% hydroelectricity, 10.7% thermal power, 7.7% nuclear and 2.7% cogeneration. By 2012, Iberdrola expects renewables to grow to 28% of operating profits.
The US division, which contributes only around 7% of profits, receive 39% of total investments of the next three years. The company has also received $703 million in federal grants that will support its wind power pipeline of 23,500 MW.
The UK and Spain, meanwhile, also take a significant chunk of the investment at 25% and 24% respectively.
In the UK, Iberdrola plans to grow mainly in the renewables arena having won its bid to develop one of the largest offshore wind sites in the world (up to 7200 MW) at Norfolk Bank. The company also evaluating a potential 3600 MW new nuclear power station at the Sellafield site it acquired last year.
Efforts in Spain, meanwhile, will focus on plans for some of the world’s largest hydroelectric projects, adding 1050 MW by 2012. In Portugal, the company is developing the Alto Támega complex, which will be the largest hydro facility built in Europe for 25 years.
But UK energy company Ecotricity has criticised Iberdrola’s subsidiary ScottishPower, along with the country’s other ‘big six’ energy companies are failing to invest the minimum necessary to meet the Government’s target of 15% renewables by 2020.
According to Ecotricity, an investment of around £30 per customer per year is needed, which it claims to have exceeded last year along with npower. ScottishPower invests just over half the minimum, while Centrica and E.On invested nothing.
Centrica subsidiary British Gas has contested the figures strongly, but Ecotricity says the difference of opinion centres on when renewable sites have come online and the costs are accounted for.
“The Big Six energy companies in Britain haven’t even come close to meeting their minimum legal obligation to build more new sources of green energy,” says Dale Vince, managing director of Ecotricity.
“We’re calling on the Big Six adopt our business model for the next 10 years, forgo dividend payments and spend the money instead on the new clean energy sources Britain needs,” he adds.
For further information:
EU expects to meet 20% renewables target by 2020 (22-Feb)
Iberdrola launches €30 million marine energy project (12-Jan)
UK Government unveils plans to transform country’s energy mix (10-Nov 2009)
Energy consortium buys Sellafield land for nuclear development (29-Oct 2009)
01 March 2010