SCOTTISH Power chief Keith Anderson has underlined the company’s desire to continue investing in Scotland and indicated it was unconcerned by the prospect of a second independence referendum in the country.

Noting the Spanish-owned utility is developing eight onshore windfarms in Scotland amid record construction activity, Mr Anderson said: “In terms of renewables in Scotland we are still bringing things through the planning system because we still think there’s a way of developing onshore renewables.”

While some people have complained wind farms require hefty subsidies, Mr Anderson said Scottish Power is confident they can be developed without requiring greater support than other forms of generation.

He appears confident the right mechanisms are likely to remain in place in Scotland.

Asked if he was concerned about the possibility a second independence referendum may be held in Scotland next year, Mr Anderson said: “From our point of view we go through a whole load of political cycles, a whole load of government cycles and regulatory cycles; we’re kind of focused 15, 20, 25 years out and we deal with things as we come along.”

He added: “We’re focused on carrying on investment under long term frameworks and we will keep working on that basis just now.”

Scottish Power is moving staff to a new headquarters building in Glasgow.

Mr Anderson said the Brexit vote had not affected Scottish Power’s enthusiasm for the UK, a key market for the parent Iberdrola group.

Scottish Power has been working on the assumption the mechanisms required to incentivise investment in generating plant and transmission networks will be in place if the UK leaves the European Union.

He noted: “Our view is that the UK has got the ability to set those mechanisms … to keep those frameworks for the long term regardless of what other trade agreements or regardless of what other market agreements the UK has.”

Mr Anderson spoke after Iberdrola revealed Scottish Power’s profits fell 13 per cent, to £1.26 billion in 2016, from £1.45bn in 2015.

Scottish Power said a 30 per cent fall in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation at the renewables arm, to £218.5 million from £318m, reflected the fact wind levels were closer to the norm last year after reaching record highs in 2015.

Mr Anderson defended Scottish Power’s decision to increase prices by an average 7.8 per cent from 31 March for duel fuel customers on the company’s standard variable tariff.

Scottish Power has been achieving margins of less than four per cent following increases in wholesale prices and the cost of investing in areas such as smart metering. The Competition and Markets Authority had said a margin of four to five per cent was reasonable.

“What you see is a very, very competitive market … It’s worth emphasising that for us the big drive has been to get people off standard variable tariffs; we’ve gone harder and faster than any other company in the market,” said Mr Anderson.

Profits in the generation and supply arm fell 21 per cent to £240m in 2016 from £306m.

Gas and electricity sales fell due to the warmer weather. Non-energy costs increased by £75m. Scottish Power had around 5.3 million customer at December 31 in line with the preceding year end.

Its networks business achieved £799.1m EBITDA, down 3 per cent from £826.4m in 2015.

Iberdrola increased earnings to €7.8 billion (£6.6bn), from €7.4bn.