Investing in Ports Supporting Floating Wind Could Bring EUR 1.75 Billion to Scotland

Investing in additional 22 hectares of port capacity suitable for floating wind foundation fabrication could bring in GBP 1.5 billion (around EUR 1.75 billion) into Scotland, according to an independent report commissioned by the Scottish government and offshore wind industry and published on 20 August.

This initial investment could help underpin longer-term growth in port space and further investment in port capacity could grow this figure to GBP 4.5 billion (around EUR 5.25 billion), the Strategic Investment Assessment (SIA) states.

The SIA recommends focusing 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.

A new partnership approach will be needed to help ports invest so they are ready to support projects coming out of the ongoing ScotWind leasing round, according to the report, which says the 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.

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“Collaborative investment in Scottish infrastructure is vital to seizing the opportunity presented by floating offshore wind and establishing a world-leading industry and supply chain here in Scotland”, said Andrew Jamieson, Chief Executive of the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.

“It will provide opportunity for our innovative SMEs and companies transitioning into renewables from oil and gas and other industries and lead to long-term, sustainable value in terms of Scottish jobs and economic growth”.

The report also identifies Scottish subsea engineering companies as a priority group well suited to offshore wind, and sets out a range of actions needed to help them better engage with and win work from top tier offshore wind companies.

In order to transform how Scottish companies secure work in offshore wind, the SIA sets out five main recommendations.

Along with the recommendation on creating a ports cluster to support floating (offshore) wind, the report also called for supporting Scottish suppliers and getting them ready to bid for and win work in the sector, as well as promoting Scottish success.

The SIA also recommends planning for future growth and the next generation of innovations, and planning for energy transition and a future of far-from-shore, mixed-use energy projects.

The SIA stresses the importance of Scotland investing in its offshore and floating wind sector capabilities to increase the economic benefits and especially job creation.

Scottish projects installed between today and 2027 may produce a total lifetime spend of GBP 18.8 billion (around EUR 21.9 billion), according to the SIA, resulting in an average of 1,900 direct jobs per year during construction and 1,100 jobs per year during 25-30 years of operations.

The 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, the report says, highlighting that Scotland needs to prioritise efforts to grow the economic value retained in Scotland.

Each additional 1 per cent in Scottish content secured from ScotWind projects can deliver an additional 6,400 FTE employment years for Scotland, according to the report.

The Strategic Investment Assessment (SIA) study, led by Professor Sir Jim McDonald, co-chair of the Scottish Government’s Energy Advisory Board, 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.

Photo: Equinor (archive); Hywind Scotland