Energy firm Scottish Power is set to become the first major UK energy company to switch to completely clean energy, replacing coal and gas with wind.
Chief executive Keith Anderson said: “We are leaving carbon generation behind for a renewable future powered by cheaper green energy. We have closed coal, sold gas and built enough wind to power 1.2 million homes.”
Power company Drax reportedly purchased the company’s final gas and hydro stations for £702m.
Scottish Power has also announced plans to invest £5.2bn into its renewable capacity over the next four years, in an attempt to more than double its clean energy sources and make electricity ‘cleaner and cheaper for Britain’.
Kate Blagojevic, UK head of energy at Greenpeace, told the BBC: “Big utilities across Europe have been shedding their dirty fossil fuel infrastructure because it makes economic and environmental sense. This move by Scottish Power shows that the same maths adds up in the UK too.
“Climate science could not be clearer that renewables are the future for powering our world. We need the government to give renewable energy industry its full backing rather than propping up the fossil fuel and nuclear companies.”
Over the past decade, Scottish Power has closed all of its coal plants, and now has 2,700MW of wind power capacity either in operation or under construction in the UK. Further projects in the pipeline have a capacity of more than 3,000MW.
Having faced criticism in the past for high carbon emissions, Drax is seeking to transition away from coal. The move is thought to be in anticipation of the government’s introduction of an emissions limit on coal plants from 2025, with the firm having already converted four of its six units in operation to wood pellets.
Drax chief executive Will Gardiner said: “We believe there is a compelling logic in our move to add further flexible sources of power to our offering.”
The firm is currently the operator of the UK’s largest power plant in North Yorkshire. In May, Drax announced a pilot scheme at the plant to capture carbon produced from burning wood pellets, turning the site into the first bioenergy carbon capture storage facility of its kind in Europe.
If successful the firm said they would roll the scheme out on a wider scale, and achieve what it said would be the ‘holy grail’ of power generation.