New offshore wind initiative to boost Scottish supply chainNews // February 1, 2012
A new £900,000 offshore wind initiative was launched on January at Scotland’s largest offshore wind conference in Aberdeen to support rapid growth in the developing offshore wind supply chain.
Announced by Scottish Enterprise chief executive, Lena Wilson, during her opening address to more than 600 delegates, the new Offshore Wind Expert Support Programme, aims to support more than 600 Scottish businesses capture a share of the potential 28,000 new jobs and £7bn investment expected from the emerging industry.
Following a very successful pilot project during 2011, the initiative has been designed to offer up to two days of free specialist one-to-one support to help companies consider opportunities and build diversification strategies that will help win business in the fast emerging offshore wind sector.
Dr Wilson said: “Scotland has the potential to boast a thriving supply chain of companies across the main stages of offshore wind.
“Our analysis suggests there are more than 750 companies already supply products and services to the market or who have the ambition to diversify into offshore wind and this new initiative is designed to offer specialist support to help those Scottish businesses with the potential and ambition to secure as much of this exciting new industry as possible.
“Many of our existing strong industry sectors such as oil and gas, engineering, aerospace and construction have transferable skills and expertise for the offshore wind market and with construction of offshore wind farms around the UK imminent, we want Scottish businesses to maximise the economic opportunity.”
Recent analysis conducted by Scottish Enterprise suggests that around 5500 offshore wind turbines are likely to be constructed in waters around the UK coast over the next decade and plans are underway to ensure offshore wind developers are fully supported by Scottish ports and companies who are able to provide critical products and services over the estimated 26 year lifespan of a typical offshore wind development.
She continued: “The economic prize is high to those who are off the starting blocks quickly and we hope this new initiative will help ensure Scotland is ready and able to support the offshore wind industry.”
The initiative will be supported by the European Regional Development Fund through the Lowlands and Uplands Scotland Programme 2007-13. An ERDF grant of £582,000 has been awarded to Scottish Enterprise to support the offshore wind supply chain development programme.