SCOTTISHPOWER has declared that it has invested a record £5 billion in contracts across its operations in the last two years, with projects including multi-million pound schemes to develop major wind farms around the UK.

And in spite of the uncertain political backdrop the energy giant pledged that it would keep investing in the years ahead, as long as the UK Government continues to “provide stable regulation and presses ahead with ambitious clean energy” policies. The company said its investment in the last two years, which has included the development of the £650m Kilgallioch Windfarm in the south west of Scotland, has supported more than 80,000 jobs across its supply chain. Contracts have been placed with more than 3,500 suppliers, the company said, ranging from small local firms to large infrastructure contractors.

Major projects currently on the company’s books include the development of the 714 megawatt (MW) East Anglia ONE offshore windfarm off the Suffolk coast. Construction of the onshore element of the project is underway, ScottishPower noted, with offshore work due to begin early next year.

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Elsewhere the company said it is spending around £660m this year to strengthen its network of cables, power lines and substations. Such infrastructure provides the electricity to 3.5m homes and businesses in Scotland, Merseyside and North Wales, with the company adding that it has now installed more than 600,000 smart meters.

Meantime, ScottishPower noted that 140 apprentices have joined its Apprenticeship and Trainee programme in the last four years, which has been run in partnership with Forth Valley College. A 95 per cent success rate has been achieved on the scheme, it said.

Keith Anderson, chief corporate officer at Glasgow-headquartered ScottishPower, said: “To deliver some of our most ambitious projects ever, we are working with a wide range of specialist companies, and supporting tens of thousands of jobs. From large multi-national organisations to small local businesses, each supplier provides a unique service that is critical to delivering our investment plans.

“It has been a year of uncertainty politically in the UK, with choppy waters still to be navigated in the years ahead. However, if the Government continues to provide stable regulation and presses ahead with the ambitious clean energy and industrial strategy policies, then companies like ScottishPower will continue to invest billions of pounds and support quality jobs.”

Details of the investment commitments were announced at the end of a challenging week for the ScottishPower. On Tuesday the company, owned by Spanish giant Iberdrola, reported a 60 per cent fall in profits in its household energy supply arm to £59.4 million. That came as the company 120,000 lost customers in the last year, with numbers standing at 5.22m at September 30 versus 5.34m at the same stage the year prior. Commenting on the day the results were unveiled, Mr Anderson reiterated the company’s opposition to UK Government proposals to introduce a cap on energy prices. He declared it would be bad for consumers and energy companies large and small, while undermining investor confidence.

He said: “The key question the Government needs to answer is whether they still believe customers benefit most from free market competition. If they do, any intervention must be designed to increase customer engagement, which is the biggest thing wrong in this sector. Otherwise, we would urge the Government to opt for a fully regulated market. We need clarity.”