Storms delay wind farm construction

Construction work at the world’s largest offshore wind farm has been delayed due to stormy weather this winter.

In a quarterly update on Thursday, energy company SSE said that turbine installation on Dogger Bank A, off the North East coast of England, has been affected by “challenging weather conditions” as well as vessel availability and supply chain delays. As a result, full operations may not be achieved until 2025.

The HVDC transmission system, cabling and foundations have now been installed at Dogger Bank A, however, and the company reported good progress at two other projects, Viking in Shetland and Yellow River in Ireland.

In SSE Thermal, the group’s flexible generation, energy-from-waste and energy storage business, performance has been affected by lower margins between the cost to produce electricity and its market price. But the business is still expected to achieve its guidance of more than £750m adjusted operating profit, including more than £75m from gas storage, for the full year.

SSE also said that output across its renewable energy operations was 1.3TWh or around 15% behind plan for the nine months to 31 December 2023, due to “exceptionally still and dry weather conditions” in addition to short-term plant outages and rephasing of flexible hydro output into the fourth quarter.

The company reaffirmed its adjusted earnings per share guidance of more than 150 pence for FY24 but said that earnings for the full year remain subject to factors such as plant availability, supportive market conditions and normal weather across the remainder of the fourth quarter.

It remains on course for adjusted investment and capital expenditure of around £2.5bn.

“The strength of our balanced business mix and the growth opportunity it provides is aligned with a policy environment which increasingly recognises the essential role renewables, electricity networks and flexible power will play in the energy system of the future,” said Barry O’Regan, chief financial officer.