AMBITIOUS plans have been revealed to establish an Offshore Renewable Energy Institute in Dundee.
• Offshore renewable energy centre proposed for Dundee
• Centre is joint project between Dundee and Aberdeen universities
• Institute will focus on providing skills and education, research and knowledge exchange
The new institute is a joint venture between Dundee and Aberdeen universities and will be aimed at providing a comprehensive service on a range of issues to the burgeoning offshore renewables industry which is expected to be worth more than £100 billion to the UK economy within the next 15 years.
Professor Stephen Decent, Vice-Principal of Dundee University and head of the university’s College of Art, Science and Engineering,said: “The new institute is a joint venture between the University of Dundee and the University of Aberdeen, hosted at Dundee. It will concentrate on education and skills, research and knowledge exchange, working closely with government and industry, to satisfy the requirements of this rapidly developing sector which is of huge importance to Scotland’s economy.”
Members of Dundee City Council’s development committee are being urged to contribute towards the £97,000 cost of a business plan for the proposed institute at a meeting in the city next Monday.
Mike Galloway, the council’s Director of City Development, states in a report to the committee: “As part of the work involved in attracting significant local projects in offshore renewables there have been discussions with Dundee University over the way it can contribute to this developing industry.
“Following a series of workshop sessions with representatives of public agencies and significant organisations within the renewables industry, a proposal has emerged to create an Offshore Renewable Energy Institute. This will operate as collaboration between Dundee and Aberdeen Universities with the principal office based here in Dundee.
“Dundee University has developed this idea based on its expertise in mineral and energy law, environmental law, concrete technology, coastal processes and planning, construction management, risk based asset management, geotechnics and fluid dynamics. In consideration of providing as comprehensive a service as possible they have now proposed to partner with Aberdeen University who bring strengths such as marine ecosystems, reliability of offshore structures, foundation engineering and the relationship between subsea structures and commercial fishing.
“The proposed institute would therefore be able to provide a comprehensive service to the offshore renewables industry in the fields of regulation, Law and Economics, environment and consenting, asset management and the design, fabrication and installation of offshore structures.”
Mr Galloway continues: “Dundee has been identified by the Scottish Government as one of the key locations for manufacturing and associated activity for this new industry. The first consents for the offshore wind fields east of Dundee have now been lodged with the Scottish Government.”
He adds: “In this context it will be to the benefit of the city if we have this institute based here providing this level of expertise to what is still a very young industry. This will open up considerable worldwide opportunities and should in itself, over time, provide high level employment within the institute itself.
“This will be a prestigious institute that will contribute to the capability of the city within the renewables industry. It will add to the international standing of the university and the city and is therefore considered worthy of support.”
Councillor Will Dawson, the convener of City Council’s city development committee, welcomed the initiative. He said: ““With the offshore renewables industry projected to develop over the next 15 years, to become worth around £100 billion to the UK economy and provide more than 30,000 jobs in Scotland, for Dundee to be the base of such a high level of expertise in a very young industry would be a massive boost for the city.
“An Offshore Renewable Energy Institute could open up considerable worldwide opportunities for the city and itself provide high levels of employment.”
He added: “This will be a prestigious institute that will contribute to the capability of the city within the renewables industry and add to the international standing of the University of Dundee and the city.”