Scottish Ports Forge Offshore Wind Alliance

Ports from across Scotland have launched the Scottish Offshore Wind Ports Alliance (SOWPA) which aims to optimise the opportunities from offshore wind.

The alliance comprises 13 ports, including Kishorn Port, the Port of Nigg, Ardersier Port, Port of Cromarty Firth, Port of Inverness, and Scrabster Harbour, among several Highland ports.

SOWPA is formed by sites that have experience in manufacturing and fabrication, marshalling, assembly, and operations and maintenance.

With ambitions to develop 30 GW of offshore wind capacity over the next 10 years through the ScotWind leasing round, the future project pipeline will put substantial pressure on Scottish port capacity due to the significant infrastructure requirements needed to support its efficient deployment, said SOWPA.

The alliance says it is actively developing opportunities to enhance regional competitiveness, drive efficiencies, and fast-track the required expertise to support the UK’s growing offshore wind industry.

This could be achieved by optimising large-scale operations and addressing common and complex industry challenges through sharing and collaboration.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates that ports are motivated to take the initiative, work proactively and diligently together, and align with the whole offshore wind ecosystem, to maximise the localisation of the supply chain requirements,” said Iain Sinclair, Executive Director at Global Energy group.

Last year, the Scottish government announced that it would invest up to GBP 500 million in the country’s offshore wind supply chain in the next five years.

“Scotland’s ports are crucial in helping unlock our huge offshore wind potential, and private investment – stimulated by up to £500 million of Scottish Government backing over the next five years – will be critical to the continued growth of the sector,” said Gillian Martin, Scotland’s Minister for Climate Action.

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SOWPA is working together to support the delivery of recommendations in recent industry reports from Offshore Wind Industry Council, the Offshore Wind Growth Partnership, as well as the Industrial Growth Partnership (IGP).

These plans highlight the need to develop the country’s supply chain, including ports, as a system and support their critical role as enabling infrastructure. 

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The new SOWPA website features up-to-date technical data on the port facilities, including an overview of both the existing and planned infrastructure developments. This will provide project developers and potential inward investors with information on the current and future landscape of Scotland’s offshore wind port capacity and capabilities.

“The crucial role of Scotland’s Green Freeports also cannot be understated. They will be essential in attracting inward investment and paving the way for new supply chain opportunities, which will have a catalytic effect on the pace of deployment. However, the enormity of the market opportunity and challenges that come with it, will require ALL of Scotland’s capable ports and their available capacities, to be engaged in the infrastructure plans,” said Sinclair.

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