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SSE says low wind, dry conditions hit renewable energy generation


A wind turbine photographed in, Camelford, Cornwall, at sunset.

Corbis – Getty Images Energy giant stated that the renewable assets of its portfolio produced 32% more power than anticipated between April 1, and September 22, due to historically low winds and dry conditions.| Corbis | Getty Images

Energy giant SSE said that its renewable assets produced 32% less power than expected between April 1 and September 22 thanks to historically dry and low-wind conditions. This is equivalent to 11% off its full-year production target.

The company, based in Perth, said Wednesday that the shortfall was caused by the unfavorable weather conditions during the summer. It was the most windy in many parts of Britain and Ireland, and the driest of all the Hydro catchment area in SSE in the past seventy-years.

This summer’s low wind output has led to Europe’s energy crunch. Power prices have hit record heights recently. There are other factors, including a colder than expected winter, production cuts in the pandemic and low Russian imports. Also, there is a high demand for liquefied gas from Asia.

SSE isn’t the only renewable energy producer warning about financial consequences from summer’s low wind speeds.

In August, German utility RWE reported “much lower” wind volumes across its Northern and Central Europe portfolio for the first half of 2021.

Orsted, a Danish energy company, made the same comments. It stated that earnings from its offshore and onshore wind farm operations were DKK 0.33 billion less than last year.

According to Orsted, the increase in generation from wind farms that are currently in operation was offset by significantly lower winds across our portfolio. The company reiterated its financial targets for full year and said this in August.

Orsted explained that the average wind speed during the second quarter was 7.8 meters per seconds, which is significantly less than the 8.6 meters/second normal speeds.

SSE management stressed Wednesday however that operational problems are not permanent. Management also noted that recent performance was affected by the hedging needs in volatile markets.

SSE stated that it is “confident” in its ability to achieve its full-year financial targets despite the slowdown during the summer. It also announced that it would expand its presence in the Japanese offshore market.

CNBC’s Anmarfrangoul contributed reporting.