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Sat May 18 2024

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Wind developers promise boom for supply chains

28 Apr 22 Crown Estate Scotland has published plans that could see an average of £1.5bn spent with the supply chain for each of the 17 ScotWind offshore wind projects.

Suppply-chain commitments have been made for each of the 17 ScotWind offshore wind projects
Suppply-chain commitments have been made for each of the 17 ScotWind offshore wind projects

The plans – called Supply Chain Development Statement (SCDS) Outlooks – show initial commitments from the successful applicants in the recent ScotWind Leasing round. 

The winners were named in January.

The SCDS Outlooks detail how each of the applicants could source products, materials, and labour to construct, erect, and service the fixed and floating offshore wind projects. They set out initial commitments across the full life cycle of projects, from development, through the manufacturing and construction phases and on to operations & maintenance.  

This initial projection of £1.5bn per project takes into account all phases of work up to and including operations & maintenance.

Crown Estate Scotland said that a key part of ScotWind is ensuring a focus from the outset on supply chain capacity to develop and deliver the projects. It has mandated that applicants must outline supply chain commitments as part of their application for an option agreement, with commitments then updated throughout development as project specifics such as timing and technology become clearer, and the development of the supply chain progresses. 

Colin Palmer, director of marine for Crown Estate Scotland, said: “The breadth and scale of these initial commitments from ScotWind developers is encouraging, as is their ambition to help Scotland reach net zero. However, the challenges in delivering on these ambitions – which will evolve as project details become clearer – should not be underestimated. It will require a truly collaborative approach from all involved to ensure the huge potential for transformative economic development, job creation, and a just transition is realised.”

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The SCDS Outlooks also make clear the challenges faced by the sector in realising ScotWind’s potential benefits. Constraints identified include a lack of grid availability, bottlenecks for construction and fabrication at preferred sites, and the skills within the labour market. However, the SCDS Outlooks also highlight the extensive experience and knowledge within Scotland, which has been accumulated via the oil and gas industry and growing renewable energy sector.

Net zero & energy secretary Michael Matheson said: “As the world’s largest offshore wind leasing round, ScotWind puts us at the forefront of the global development of offshore wind and represents a massive step forward in our net zero transformation.

“The publication of these supply chain outlooks demonstrates the truly unprecedented scale of the opportunities that this leasing round will present, not just for our regional and national economies, but to deliver a true just transition for our energy sector, harnessing existing talent and expertise and creating and delivering good, green jobs across Scotland’s supply chain.

“There will be some challenges to overcome as we embark on this exciting expansion in renewable energy – such as grid capacity and unfair transmission charging. The Scottish Government does not have the powers to resolve all these challenges, but we will continue to work with and, where appropriate, challenge the UK government to address these barriers and ensure a just transition to net zero.

“Offshore wind is rapidly becoming one of the cheapest forms of electricity at our disposal to protect consumers and ensure our energy security whilst delivering our climate obligations, and the Scottish Government will use every lever at our disposal to harness to ensure a greener, fairer future for everyone.”

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