A new group has been set up to make sure Scotland’s energy supply chain companies benefit from new floating offshore wind projects in Scotland and the UK. The announcement this week from Prime Minister, Boris Johnston, that the UK now has a 1GW floating target by 2030 further cements the role of floating offshore wind in the UK’s drive to become the “Saudi Arabia of offshore wind power” and is tremendous news for the supply chain.

The group has been formed as a subgroup of DeepWind, Scotland’s supply chain cluster. DeepWind is currently managed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to help cement Scotland’s and the UK’s lead role in the development of offshore wind. The new subgroup will be co-chaired by Dr. Andronikos Kafas from Ocean Winds and Julia Roope from Fugro and involves more than 200 members of the DeepWind cluster.

Scotland is currently the world leader in the deployment of floating offshore wind with the Hywind project and the soon to be completed Kincardine wind farm. The combined capacity of these projects, at 80MW, puts Scotland at the top of the floating offshore wind league and, with plans to scale up to commercial projects in the forthcoming ScotWind leasing round, Scotland will be a magnet for this emerging sector for some time to come.

The aim of the new subgroup is to develop close ties with centers of innovation, such as the Floating Offshore Wind Centre of Excellence and the Carbon Trust’s Floating Offshore Wind Joint Industry Project. This will make sure the supply chain can be directly involved in the commercialization of new technologies.

Many of DeepWind’s 24 developer members are involved in both these innovation centers and form a bridge between the innovation systems and the supply chain with the new subgroup acting as a conduit. The subgroup includes many of the floating substructure technology companies from across Europe who are looking to demonstrate their systems in Scotland and the UK and thus creating opportunities for their fellow supply chain members to work with them as these projects come to fruition.

Dr. Andronikos Kafas, New Offshore Opportunities Manager from Ocean Winds said:

“We are excited to announce and co-chair the launch of the DeepWind FOW subgroup. OW is committed to DeepWind’s success and support programs to bring developers and their Tier-1s closer to regional supply chain.

“The subgroup is currently the only floating offshore wind forum for direct discussion between developers/tier ones and the tiers two/three (typically where most local content lives).

“The aim of the subgroup is to assist the sector and parent DeepWind group with horizon scanning, opportunity setting, and capacity building of Scottish companies, under the auspices of economic development agencies”.

Julia Roope, Fugro’s Global Business Development Manager for Offshore Wind, said: “The launch of the DeepWind FOW subgroup is a significant step in recognizing the importance that floating technology plays in the future of offshore wind generation in Scotland and in supporting the UK’s leading role in offshore wind development. As co-chair, Fugro’s extensive offshore wind experience will be used to help our members develop supply chain opportunities, support the development of the skills needed to grow the sector, and foster the development of new technology through close ties with centers of innovation.”

In September 2020, the group held its first webinar to introduce the industry co-chairs and aims of the subgroup. Co-chairs organized an online poll to gather input directly from supply chain companies on topics and activities of most interest to its members. Meet-the-buyer events, introductory session to the offshore wind supply chain procurement process in Scotland, as well as Scottish market updates were amongst the highest voted type of activities for the group to take forward, in order to build capacity for new entrants in the Scottish supply chain. Focus areas where the group has been asked to contribute include:

Cost reduction and the role of the supply chain;

  • Supply chain services and innovation that can result in time savings in the consenting process;
  • Support for technology development by local companies;
  • Addressing the local content challenge and increase competitiveness;
  • Regular updates of the Scottish market and signposting of supply chain
  • opportunities; and
  • Skills transition into the floating offshore wind sector

The subgroup co-chairs are both committed in further analyzing the extensive input collected as part of the first webinar (over 170+ individual ideas shared) and return to the members with a proposed workplan detailing a series of activities and events.

Source: Offshore Wind Scotland

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