SCOTTISHPOWER has enjoyed a surge in the profits it makes from the sale of energy to households and made progress in the offshore windfarm business in which it sees big potential.

The Glasgow-based energy giant said its retail business increased profits by 21 per cent, £23 million, to £135m in the first six months of this year

The company said the rise reflected the impact of colder weather compared with the same period in the preceding year.

The group, which is owned by Spain’s Iberdrola, said it held retail customer numbers stable at 4.6 million

The firms that dominate the energy market have faced increased competition from new players in recent years although a range of smaller suppliers have gone bust.

ScottishPower’s results also provide further evidence that economic activity is recovering after plunging last year in response to the coronavirus crisis.

The company said a £13m increase in earnings at its networks business, to £445m, partly reflected a reduced Covid-19 demand impact compared with the previous year.

READ MORE: Glasgow-based energy giant bids for Scottish windfarm licences with Shell

However, ScottishPower’s renewable energy generation division saw earnings fall by around 8%, £25m, to £304m in the first half.

The company noted that weather conditions weighed on the performance of onshore windfarms. It has an extensive portfolio of these in Scotland.

But ScottishPower was pleased by the contribution made by the giant East Anglia One windfarm, which became fully operational in July last year.

ScottishPower has noted that around 20 per cent of the turbine installation and around half the turbine connection work on East Anglia One was completed during lockdown.

HeraldScotland: ScottishPower chief executive Keith AndersonScottishPower chief executive Keith Anderson

Chief executive Keith Anderson said yesterday: “A positive and steady performance in the first half has been underpinned by increased performance from our new offshore windfarm, East Anglia One, partially reducing the impact of lower output from onshore wind.”

ScottishPower underlined its confidence in the potential of the offshore wind market last week when it revealed it had entered the bidding for the ScotWind offshore licensing round.

The company said it had submitted multiple proposals for new large-scale floating offshore windfarms with Royal Dutch Shell, which has a big North Sea oil and gas business.

ScottishPower also plans to invest heavily in onshore wind, solar and in hydrogen fuel production.

ScotWind is the first offshore wind auction to cover acreage off Scotland for a decade.

READ MORE: ScotWind auction heats up as Italian oil genter enters fray

It has attracted strong interest from giants based in a range of countries.

Scottish Hydroelectric Owner SSE has submitted a bid with Japanese industrial giant Marubeni and the Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners investment firm

Oil giants BP, Eni, Total Energies and Equinor are also in the running.

In its first half results announcement Iberdrola noted: “In the United Kingdom, electricity demand grew by 3.1% in 2021 compared to the same period in 2020. Demand for conventional gas increased by 10.1%.”

It said the total amount of onshore wind generated by its UK assets fell by 16% but offshore wind generation increased by 36%.

Iberdrola group increased first half earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) by 10% to €5.4 billion (£4.6bn).

READ MORE: BP says ScotWind bid could unlock £10bn investment

ScottishPower increased total EBITDA from operations by around 1%, to £884m, from £873m.

Mr Anderson said last week that the ScotWind licensing round had the potential to unlock huge amounts of investment in new renewable energy generating capacity.

He said ScottishPower and Shell’s collective experience and expertise meant they could lead the way in developing large-scale offshore floating windfarms and in creating a new industry that could help the UK to decarbonise its energy generation and to grow exports.

On Monday BP claimed the bid it has made alongside Germany’s Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg (EnBW) could support around £10 billion investment in windfarms and related infrastructure assets, ranging from hydrogen fuel plants to shipyards.