* Renewables output 5% below plan
* SSE exploring options to sell stake in Scotia Gas Networks (SGN)
* Temporarily adjusting hedging as it awaits UK ETS start (Updates with SSE comments on hedging from fourth paragraph)
Feb 2 (Reuters) - British power producer and network operator SSE Plc said on Tuesday its year-to-date renewables output was about 5% below plan due to lower wind generation but it maintained its full-year earnings forecasts.
SSE, which plans to refocus its investments on its networks and renewables businesses, has set out plans to invest in low-carbon energy infrastructure over the next five years and treble its renewable electricity output by 2030.
The company has sold its Multifuel assets as well as its gas exploration and production assets in the last few months, and said on Tuesday that it has appointed banks to explore options for the sale of all or some of its stake in Scotia Gas Networks (SGN).
The company also announced it was temporarily adjusting its approach to forward hedging of its gas-fired generation output for the periods beyond March, as it awaits the introduction of a separate British emissions trading scheme (UK ETS).
“This is likely to mean SSE will suspend forward hedging and instead will commit generation plant nearer to delivery,” it said. This was not expected to have a material impact on profit, SSE said as it stuck to its previous full-year earnings and dividend forecasts. It has forecast that the impact of the coronavirus crisis will knock between 150 million pounds and 250 million pounds ($205 million-$342 million) off its full-year profit and said on Tuesday that the hit was likely to be in the middle of that range.
Renewables output was 5% less than targeted in the nine months through Dec. 31, 2020 as wind power generation fell, the company said.
Britain has said it will introduce a national emissions trading scheme following the country’s exit from the European Union at the end of 2020, with auctions of UK carbon permits to start no later than the second quarter of 2021. But for now, there are no British permits available, which has led some British companies to continue buying EU allowances. ($1 = 0.7309 pounds) (Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Nora Buli in Oslo; Editing by Devika Syamnath and Susan Fenton)