Scotland’s strategy for increasing the share of local content in wind projects off its coasts, as well as for increasing Scottish content in projects in other markets, should be based on manufacturing, rather than installation, according to a report from the Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council (SOWEC).
Currently, Scottish content in Scottish projects is at 44 per cent, with Scotland-based companies being less successful at supplying into wind farms elsewhere in the UK. For non-Scottish UK projects, Scottish content is less than 1 per cent.
Looking at the commitment under the UK Offshore Wind Sector Deal, which aims at 60 per cent UK offshore wind content, the report says this will require significant investment.
It is estimated that 15 new manufacturing facilities would be needed to deliver 60 per cent UK content, six of which could be in Scotland. However, the report also highlights that there are no compelling reasons for suppliers to choose to manufacture in Scotland compared to other UK locations.
For Scotland, SOWEC’s report recommends a strategy focused on manufacturing and identifies towers, blades, and floating offshore wind platforms as the most promising inward investment opportunities.
An independent report commissioned by the Scottish government and offshore wind industry, published in August, found that 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 SOWEC’s report, uture floating wind projects are likely to deliver higher levels of UK and Scottish content than fixed-bottom offshore wind projects, due to the increased likelihood of platform manufacture in Scotland, the opportunity to supply mooring systems from Scotland and because more of the turbine installation work is undertaken onshore, meaning that existing expertise from the onshore market can be used.
“For the first time, we have a baseline to grow from. SOWEC is committed to growing Scottish jobs from offshore wind, so knowing where we are starting from and having a clear route map is vital. This report, alongside the recent Scottish Infrastructure Assessment, will help SOWEC to prioritise actions to grow jobs in Scotland from offshore wind”, said SOWEC industry co-chair Brian McFarlane.