Raising the millions now needed

Britain's ScottishPower reported "huge appetite" for its sale of convertible bonds in June this year. Due to high demand, the company sold $700 million of bonds -- up from the original offering of $575 million. The money is to be used to finance organic growth, including renewables, across the group's companies in the UK and US.

The group expects to make capital investments of £900 million in each of the next two years, of which 40% -- around £360 -- will be in wind power developments, gas storage and networks in Britain and America. The balance will be invested in maintaining the group's asset base.

In the UK, ScottishPower says that capital expenditure on renewables in 2003-04 could rise substantially, depending on siting consents, as a result of its commitment to increase its wind generation. The company aims to produce 10% of its power from renewables by 2010, in line with government targets for the whole country. With 130 MW already from renewables, Scottish Power needs an extra 800 MW -- estimated to cost some £700 million.

One 30 MW wind farm is under construction at Cruach Mhor in Argyll and Bute, Scotland, which is expected to be completed by March. Over 546 MW of wind is awaiting planning consent and the company has begun environmental assessments on a further 300 MW.

In the US, PPM Energy, a ScottishPower group subsidiary, says its capital spend is expected to increase in 2003-04, primarily to construct new wind farms, including the 44 MW Flying Cloud project in Iowa and its 51 MW Moraine project in Minnesota.