SSE to sell NuGen stake to concentrate on renewables

Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) is to sell its 25 per cent stake in NuGeneration in order to concentrate its investment activities in renewable energy.

SSE said it will sell its stake to GDF Suez and Iberdrola who, along with SSE, established NuGeneration (NuGen) to develop proposals for a new nuclear power station.

According to SSE, NuGen has an option to purchase land for the development of a new nuclear power station of up to 3.6GW near Sellafield in West Cumbria.

The option was secured in October 2009 for an initial cash consideration of £19.5m and the site was named as a suitable place to build a nuclear power station in the National Policy Statement for Nuclear Power Generation, published in June 2011.

In its six-month financial statement in November 2010, SSE said: ’The cost, development issues, timetable and operational efficacy of nuclear power stations all require the greatest possible scrutiny before a commitment to invest [in new nuclear power stations] can be made’.

The company re-emphasised this in its full-year financial statement in May 2011 and, as such, has decided to end its involvement in NuGen.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, generation and supply director of SSE, said: ‘The UK will need both nuclear and renewable energy in the future, but we have made it clear from the start of our involvement in NuGen that our core investment in generation should be in renewable energy.

‘At the same time, it made sense to be part of NuGen to help establish whether some participation in new nuclear power stations would be the right thing for SSE, given that we have no experience of ownership or operations in the nuclear sector.

’We have always adopted a cautious approach to financial and other issues associated with nuclear power development. NuGen will have to make a multi-billion-pound investment decision around 2015, but even getting to the point of that decision will absorb, from now on, significant financial and management resources from everyone in the joint venture.

‘We have concluded that, for the time being, our resources are better deployed on business activities and technologies where we have the greatest knowledge and experience,’ he added.