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Offshore wind report puts supply chain in focus

By Staff Reporter

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The Beatice offshre wind farm during the construction phase. Picture: Bowl
The Beatice offshre wind farm during the construction phase. Picture: Bowl

Businesses working in Scotland’s offshore wind supply chain are highlighted in a new report published to mark Offshore Wind Week.

Ports, fabricators, underwater vehicle specialists, helicopter transfer operators and more are featured, demonstrating the evolving skills sets required to support this rapidly-expanding sector.

The document, supported by EDF Renewables, SSE Renewables and Red Rock Power Limited, showcases a snapshot of 17 companies which were active in offshore wind in 2018-19, the majority of which are home-grown SMEs.

Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, which produced the report, told how it “demonstrates not just the current state of the offshore wind supply chain in Scotland but also the opportunities which come from diversifying into renewable energy”.

She continued: “Scotland’s combination of exceptional wind speeds and a history of innovation and engineering make it one of the best places in Europe to develop offshore wind, and we are keen to maintain that status.

“The projects which are now starting to build out show the scale of the prize for supply chain companies and this document was brought together to showcase just some of them.

“From digital and data to shipping and safety, the opportunities created by this relatively new sector are almost limitless. Industry is determined to work with supply chain companies at all scales to ensure they capture the maximum possible benefit from offshore wind for Scotland.”

The Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council (SOWEC), which launched last month, has an ambition that the amount of offshore wind installed in Scottish waters will increase eightfold by 2030 – building enough capacity to power every household in Scotland twice over.

Claire Mack – 'report shows scale of the prize on offer'.
Claire Mack – 'report shows scale of the prize on offer'.

SOWEC, which is co-chaired by Scotland's energy minister Paul Wheelhouse and Brian McFarlane, SSE Renewables’ head of projects for offshore development, also commits to increasing local content in line with the ambitions set out in the UK sector deal, developing a sustainable, world-class supply chain in Scotland.

The council works with the two offshore wind clusters, which have been set up as geographically-linked groups of organisations working in the sector. Both Scottish clusters welcomed the report's publication.

Paul O’Brien, manager of the DeepWind Cluster which covers the Highlands and Islands, said: "It is good that we can highlight the work of the Scottish offshore wind supply chain in this way to show that companies are winning substantial work in the offshore wind sector.

"These contracts often fail to hit the headlines and therefore tend to remain below the radar. Offshore Wind Week is an opportunity to celebrate the success of these Scottish companies which have put in a lot of time and effort to win this work and it is the job of the new clusters to help more of them do the same."

The new report, titled Scotland’s Offshore Wind Sector: Supply Chain Impact 2018-19, was released to tie in with Offshore Wind Week which runs from November 18-22. It is available to download from Scottish Renewables’ website at www.scottishrenewables.com/publications/scotlands-offshore-wind-sector-supply-chain-impact

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