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ScotWind partners and University of Highlands and Islands to develop future offshore wind skills

13 Jul 2021

BSc (Hons) marine science students at the Scottish Association for Marine Science UHI, Dunstaffnage

The ScotWind partnership involving leading renewable energy developer SSE Renewables, Japanese conglomerate Marubeni Corporation (Marubeni) and Danish fund management company Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the University of Highlands and Islands for a collaboration to deliver targeted education, research and employability initiatives.

The Partners, who are jointly bidding for the upcoming ScotWind offshore energy seabed leasing process being managed by Crown Estate Scotland, intend to work with the university to help to create the skills required to develop, construct and operate future offshore wind farms in Scotland. This work would include the promotion of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning in primary and secondary schools as well as the development of the university’s curriculum to support the changing needs of the industry and the provision of academic capability to support industry research.

SSE Renewables Director of Capital Projects, Paul Cooley, said: “We are delighted that our ScotWind partnership has signed this MOU with the University of the Highlands and Islands which demonstrates our firm commitment to skills development. SSE has already supported the work of the university for many years and this new partnership will allow us to inspire school pupils to choose a STEM career within the offshore wind industry and provide the right curriculum to meet the emerging needs of the sector including areas such as floating wind and green hydrogen roll-out. These skills will be vital for the delivery of ScotWind projects to help meet our net zero obligations.”

University of the Highlands and Islands, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Todd Walker said: “Our mission is to have a transformational impact on the prospects of our region, its economy, its people and its communities. The latest Scotwind offshore leasing round presents a significant opportunity to help realise Scotland’s ambitions towards net zero targets. It also offers huge potential for the communities in which our University is rooted, with a requirement for skills, infrastructure and facilities to support the production of green energy.”

The SSE Renewables-Marubeni-CIP Partnership is uniquely placed to support the development of future offshore wind skills in Scotland. SSE Renewables already has the largest offshore wind portfolio in Scotland, while Marubeni brings a wealth of sector experience including floating offshore wind demonstration projects in Japan, and CIP has vast experience of delivering offshore wind across continents with a global floating offshore wind competence centre in Edinburgh. The Partners will leverage this global expertise to create opportunities for Scottish students to undertake exchange programmes with universities in Denmark and Japan, to allow the sharing and development of new ideas and skills which will provide a unique opportunity for offshore wind related international learning. In the near term all three partner organisations hope to work with the University of the Highlands and Islands to offer internship opportunities for existing students.

The partnership is working together on joint applications for the ScotWind seabed leasing process that is being managed by Crown Estate Scotland which could allow the future development of around 10GW of offshore wind in Scottish waters. The deadline for bid submissions is 16th July 2021.

HNC engineering systems students at Lews Castle College UHI, Stornoway