Scottish Floating Offshore Wind Port Cluster could deliver £1.5bn boost20 Aug 2021
SSE Renewables has welcomed the publication of a new independent report which sets out five key recommendations to transform how Scottish companies secure work in offshore wind.
The report, published today and commissioned by the Scottish Government and offshore wind industry and led by Professor Sir Jim McDonald, says Scottish ports will be key to the success of the country’s offshore wind sector supply chain, and could deliver £1.5 billion in economic benefit to Scotland with the potential to grow to £4.5 billion.
The independent Strategic Investment Assessment (SIA) report’s five main recommendations are:
- The offshore wind sector’s priority must be the establishment of a collaboration framework focused on building confidence amongst Scottish ports, so that required investment is brought forward in time. The immediate priority of such a collaborative framework is supporting the creation of a Scottish Floating Offshore Wind Port Cluster
- Support Scottish suppliers and get them ready to bid for and win work
- Celebrate and sell Scottish success
- Plan for future growth and the next generation of innovations
- Plan for energy transition and a future of far-from-shore, mixed-use energy projects.
The SIA recommends a focus on bringing the manufacture of floating offshore wind platforms to Scotland through creation of a Scottish Floating Offshore Wind Port Cluster, with ports acting in partnership to provide the required infrastructure area and capability needed to attract manufacturers to use Scottish ports and invest in Scotland.
It highlights a low-regret option to invest in an additional 22 hectares of port capacity suitable for offshore wind platform fabrication that could deliver £1.5 billion in economic benefit to Scotland. This initial investment could help underpin longer-term growth in port space, and further investment in port capacity could grow this figure to £4.5 billion.
To help ports invest so they are ready to support projects coming out of the current ScotWind Leasing round run by Crown Estate Scotland, a new partnership approach will be needed. Industry must learn from sectors like oil and gas and develop a collaborative framework that can make explicit the expected future requirements of the offshore wind sector. The Scottish and UK Governments must also help prime early investment to build world-class port facilities.
The forthcoming ScotWind leasing round could create 5,000 jobs per year during construction and 2,800 jobs per year during 25-30 years of operations, with total Scottish jobs peaking at 6,000 in 2032/33.
Welcoming the report Jim Smith, Managing Director of SSE Renewables and a member of the SIA Executive Committee, said:
“This is a significant report coming at a vital time as Scotland accelerates its drive towards net-zero. Offshore wind will play a critical role in powering that drive, which is why the capability and commitments of developers to deliver on Scotland’s ambitions of securing 10GW of new offshore wind energy under ScotWind is critical.
"As important is the ability of industry and government to collaborate to create the investment environment that allows Scotland’s supply chain, including our ports, to capitalise on the opportunities. SOWEC’s report highlights the crucial steps that are rapidly needed so that the Scottish supply chain can successfully secure high-value contracts from the next round of new offshore wind projects.”
Also welcoming the report, Net Zero and Energy Secretary Michael Matheson said:
“The offshore wind sector has a vital role to play in decarbonising our energy system and ensuring we become a net-zero economy by 2045.
“With a pipeline of new projects set to be provided by the first cycle of ScotWind Leasing, the Scottish Government committed to setting out this Strategic Investment Assessment within our first 100 Days of Government as we seek to better support the offshore wind supply chain and create further good, green jobs as we deliver a just transition to net zero.
“I am grateful to Professor Sir Jim McDonald and his team for delivering the report, which sets out a clear path of the steps we must take to seize the economic opportunity this presents for Scotland. With COP26 in Glasgow approaching, this is an ideal opportunity to demonstrate the action we are taking on renewable energy and I look forward to continuing to engage with SOWEC as they take forward delivery of the recommendations.”
The independent SIA report was commissioned by the Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council, an industry-government group co-chaired by Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise Ivan McKee MSP and industry leader Brian McFarlane of SSE Renewables.
SOWEC industry co-chair Brian McFarlane said:
"SOWEC welcomes this important report and the clear priorities it sets for action. The report rightly points out that action is needed before the end of 2021 so that when the next generation of projects emerges from the ScotWind leasing round, Scotland is properly organised to secure work from this pipeline."
The independent report lead, Professor Sir Jim McDonald, said:
“Scotland is a leader in climate action as well as in low-carbon technology, research and innovation, with a commitment to a just energy transition. Scotland will be one of the first countries in the world looking to deliver floating offshore wind at scale. If Scottish companies are involved in this first generation of floating offshore wind projects, then they will be in a position to sell this expertise around the world.
“However, winning this opportunity will need collective effort and determination. Scottish Ministers and industry leaders must clearly understand and provide the level of commitment and action needed, and create the opportunity to forge an effective partnership if we are to grow Scottish success."