Analysis: ‘Offshore wind power is the best chance of reaping the benefits industry has to offer’

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SCOTLAND is the natural home to offshore renewable energy, with our abundant natural resources and long heritage of maritime industry – principally oil and gas and fisheries.

The offshore wind sector in Scotland has been fortunate to have strong political backing, ensuring that we have the best chance of reaping the economic and social benefits this industry has to offer.

The Moray Project is likely to offer another key step in Scotland’s journey to becoming a global centre of excellence for the offshore wind sector.

Scotland’s potential is well known and in recent months we have welcomed the investment from significant international players, such as Doosan, Mitsubishi and Gamesa, all vying to establish their turbines in Scottish waters. We know future employment is promising, with up to 28,000 direct jobs being created by 2020, leading to an economic input of £7 billion.

Investors need to weigh up challenges, such as the deep water that surrounds Scotland’s coast. This is an additional engineering hurdle, but has been answered by Scottish expertise using oil and gas technology, as seen in the Beatrix demonstrator project – the world’s first deep-water turbines.

Scottish Renewables and the Scottish enterprise agencies are working hard to ensure that Scotland reaps the maximum benefits from this industry by ensuring full engagement with the indigenous supply chain at every level of development.

This will be the focus of the Scottish Offshore Wind Conference in Aberdeen in January to discuss supply-chain needs and work with the Departments of Energy and Climate Change taskforce to help offshore wind become increasingly more cost competitive.

• Johanna Yates is offshore policy manager for Scottish Renewables.