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A word from our new Chair

01 Apr 2021

It feels like a real coming of age moment for SSE as the global and domestic agendas chime with the Company’s strategic focus on net zero, so it is a real honour to take over from Richard Gillingwater as Chair of the SSE plc Board at this pivotal moment.

SSE is an outstanding business that’s been serving the UK and Ireland for decades and under Richard’s tenure, with strong leadership from Alistair and the team, it has gone from strength-to-strength through what has been a busy period for the industry. Three prime ministers, Brexit, CMA investigations and of course a global pandemic – it has been nothing short of eventful. But, as Richard hands over the baton, he leaves behind a business that is now very well placed for the next phase.

The SSE of 2021 is much more focused on the assets needed for net zero than we were a few years ago. With GB domestic retail, E&P and other non-core businesses exiting the group, the business mix is now tilted towards harnessing the substantial growth options in renewables and electricity networks.

We are building the largest offshore wind farm in the world. More than that, we are building more offshore wind than anyone anywhere on the planet right now. We are seeking to pioneer carbon capture and storage and support the decarbonisation of industrial heartlands. We have electricity networks that are responding to the challenges of net zero. These are things to be proud of. Things that matter.

And during this transition over the last few years, the Company has maintained a solid financial performance and delivered on its commitments to shareholders and wider society.

We will face more challenges ahead and we will need to continue to evolve as we face them. No business can stand still. Our markets are becoming more global and more competitive. But we have exceptional skills, experience and the pedigree to deliver in this sector.

As we look back on a year defined by the coronavirus pandemic, we should be proud of how we have responded to the challenges. It is an immense credit to our employees that we have been able to support the safe and reliable supply of electricity, which is so core to everyday life, while juggling health and homelife.

Not to mention continuing to deliver billion-pound projects such as giving the green light to the world’s largest offshore wind farm – Dogger Bank – and Scotland’s largest - Seagreen. We’re also linking the Shetland Isles to the mainland GB electricity grid for the first time, which will help unlock the island’s wind potential, and we’re building Viking wind farm there, too, which should be the most productive in Europe. Combined, these investments have created over 1,000 jobs with many more to come.

As we emerge from the pandemic, our purpose of providing the energy needed today while building a better world of energy for tomorrow, is more important than ever. Our business is already supporting a green recovery from coronavirus and our net zero-focused strategy to invest in low-carbon assets and infrastructure means nobody is building back better than SSE.

As I take over as Chair, I am determined that this business will continue to be an agent of positive change for all stakeholders, delivering the solutions needed for climate action, and remaining a sustainable business in every sense of the word.