Global wind power giant Iberdrola posted a record €3bn ($3.4bn) annual profit that its CEO claimed proved the success of a sustainable business model – and that the “fight against climate change is an opportunity”.

The 2018 net profit – a 7.5% year-on-year increase – came as Iberdrola’s operating earning from renewables surged by 39%, helped by new offshore wind capacity and better output from its onshore turbines and hydro fleet.

Iberdrola’s renewables base hit 29.2GW by the end of last year, and it is advancing major projects including the 714MW EA 1 off the UK and the 800MW Vineyard Wind project in the US state of Massachusetts.

Iberdrola CEO Ignacio Galan said the best-ever profit figures for the Spanish group “are proof of the success of a sustainable model and they encourage us to continue pushing for the transition to a low carbon economy.

“The fight against climate change is an opportunity.”

The potential for renewable and other clean energy investments to return healthy profits growth has often split the business community. The CEO of oil giant Shell said in 2016 that he was struggling to find profitable investment opportunities in renewables – although the supermajor has now massively boosted its own activity.

Iberdrola said improving profits had allowed it to fulfil its current strategic plan a year early. The Spanish group will update investors on its objectives in a presentation in London on 26 February.