British utility Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) has raised £479 million through a share issue which will help fund wind farm investments in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. The group, which owns Irish wind development company Airtricity, has placed 42 million new shares with institutions at a price of £11.40 per share. The placing represents an increase of nearly 5% in SSE's share capital. The money will boost its balance sheet strength and allow it to acquire small and medium sized assets within a total £6.7 billion investment program over five years, it says. Some £300 million of this is earmarked for recent wind farm investments, including construction. They comprise a majority stake in a consented wind farm in Scotland, which would give SSE up to 200 MW of capacity; construction is due to start later this year. SSE is also completing the acquisition of a joint venture interest in a wind farm currently under construction in Ireland. With stakes in two further Irish wind farms acquired in 2008, the Irish investments give SSE an additional 50 MW of capacity.