Sir Ian Wood: North-east to capitalise on wind energy

Oil tycoon Sir Ian Wood believes that north-east Scotland is “uniquely positioned” to support major offshore wind developments, with oil and gas companies playing a key role in the transition to a low carbon economy.

Sir Ian Wood chairs private sector-led economic development body Opportunity North East. Picture: Jane Barlow

Wood, chair of private sector-led economic development body Opportunity North East (ONE), cited the region’s skills base, infrastructure and supply chain as key attributes for it to capitalise on a “huge opportunity” to bring new products and services to market.

Investment in new offshore wind capacity in the UK is estimated to total £18 billion.

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Speaking ahead of a Scottish Council for Development and Industry event this evening, Wood said: “Our oil, gas and energy supply chain is a key economic asset regionally and nationally, and helps to make us one of the most productive regions in the UK.

“Energy transition is vital to anchoring these businesses and their high-value employment long term. Developing our position in offshore wind is a clear, early opportunity for further diversification of our market focus.”

Offshore wind assets such as Vattenfall’s £300 million European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre and new investments including the £350m South Harbour in Aberdeen, demonstrate the region’s maritime capability, major offshore project experience and port facilities, Wood said.

Major east coast offshore wind arrays in development include Seagreen Alpha and Neart Na Gaoithe in the outer Firth of Forth, and Inch Cape off Angus.

Wood added: “Our company base in and around Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to develop a competitive position in this growing sector and offshore wind is a significant and near-term commercial opportunity because of the scale of new offshore arrays on the east coast of Scotland.

“The UK has installed more offshore wind capacity than any other country and in recent years much of that development has been in the Moray Firth and off Aberdeen.

“This experience is matched with a mature supply chain already diversified into the sector, unrivalled experience of major offshore projects, and investment in our ports, including the new £350m South Harbour.”